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BU Athlete: Emma Denham’s Athlete Story

Written by: Emma Denham


My name is Emma Denham, and I ama first-year student at Bournemouth University studying Forensic Science. I was honoured to have been given a sports scholarship to support me throughout my BU journey and help me to achieve my sporting goals. I am a disabled athlete, being classified in 2018 as a T37 competitor, a classification for athletes who have co-ordination impairments. At the end of last years’ season, I was 4th in the UK for long jump and 13th for 100m. My aims for the 2019 season were to compete for the university and to increase both my speed and distance in my events. Although only halfway through the season, I have already achieved these goals, increasing my jump by 8cm and reducing my 100m time by 0.74seconds, as well as competing at both the indoor and outdoor BUCS championships. My season opener was at the indoor BUCS championships in February. This was a new experience for me, being my first ever indoor competition. I was very happy with my jump, being only 11cm off my prior 2018 SB, but still felt like my best performance was yet to come. I felt proud to be able to represent Bournemouth at the event, wearing my new BU vest.

The next competition was outdoors, and here I was thrilled to have achieved a new 6cm PB at the Bournemouth AC Open, despite it being very windy! My next competition was at the Southern Athletics League Division, representing my home club YOAC, though this was far from my best tournament, with my long jump being 20cm below my PB. However, I was happy to say that I came 3rd competing as a B string athlete in the able-athletics competition, so I managed to beat an able-bodied athlete.

Next was the Bill Whistlecroft Spring Festival Open, and I competed in both long jump and 100m. Due to the weather conditions I struggled with the long-jump however I got a new PB in the 100m, which helped me climb the 100m leaderboard.

My final competition was BUCS outdoor championships and once again I competed in both 100m and long jump. Although conditions were appalling, with gale force winds, I managed to perform well, coming 5th in the 100m, being only 0.02 seconds slower than my PB. I was pleased with this as a problem with the starter pistol had caused the first start to be abandoned, and consequently my second start was slow. In the long jump, I came 3rd, getting a new PB in the process. Although the day had been hard, it was rewarding to stand up on the podium and collect my first BUCS medal.

I am now currently 6th in the UK for my 100m and 2nd in my age group for the long jump. I hope as the season continues, I can increase my PB’s further, and am going to be training hard over the summer to get internationally classified next year.