After weeks of tense deliberation, we’re excited to reveal the 2019 scholarship winner. Last year’s winner, Laura Smith, set the bar incredibly high and has been a fantastic ambassador for the sport with a busy year of races and coaching. Today she passes the baton onto Alistair Souch, a PhD psychology student at the University of Cardiff.
First exposed to triathlon in the London Olympics in 2012, Alistair was inspired to enter his first triathlon the following summer and joined the triathlon club at Cardiff in his first term. Since then he has gone on to raise thousands of pounds for charity, run a number of sold-out Go Tri Events and is very involved within his university club. Not content with just supporting his peers, Alistair is also a coach at his local junior triathlon club where he’s puts into practise his BTF Level 1 coaching skills. On top of this, his commitment to training a huge amount for his own personal achievements alongside his studies shone through.
Mental health was a recurring topic in many of this year’s applications, with students commenting again and again how participation in triathlon has helped them deal with difficulties in their past as well as juggling the demands of university life. For Alistair, who has raised vast sums of money for cancer charities by completing challenging triathlons, the sport has become an outlet to deal with his emotions about loved ones battling the disease.
The overall aim of the scholarship is to encourage more students to both take up and keep up triathlon, as research reflects a marked drop off in triathlon participation at university level. We wanted to find a student who could demonstrate how they would increase participation among their peers, as well as being passionate about the sport. It was heartening to receive over 100 applications from students all across the UK who so clearly love the sport and the judges commended the high standard of everyone on the shortlist.
To help with his 2019 goals, Alistair will be supported by a range of industry-leading British Triathlon partners including Yellow Jersey, KitBrix, Training Peaks and Precision Hydration.
Alistair told us:
“I’m absolutely delighted to be awarded such a fantastic opportunity to continue to push myself within the sport, as well as trying to engage more people to give tri a try! I was surprised to hear the news this morning that I’d won but am really excited about the coming year and what it will now hold.
The opportunities that are now available due to this scholarship are huge. I’m keen to push on to the next level with my coaching, which will allow me to offer more to those in the Uni club. In addition, I’ll look at continuing to engage the wider Uni community and general public with beginner friendly races. Personally, the scholarship will help me immensely with my training, and also opens up some exciting race opportunities for the year!”
Yellow Jersey’s Head of Marketing, Emily Conrad Pickles, commented:
“In my opinion, Alistair encompasses everything that we set out to achieve with this project. We’re thrilled to have found a young ambassador for the sport who is not only actively involved in encouraging more people into triathlon but who also embraces the sport for everything that it stands for.”