Sports Science Students Heading Off to Help Paralympic Athletes in Rio


John Francis and Nathan Payne will both head to Brazil to assist the British Wheelchair Basketball team, using their expertise in performance analysis.

Mr Francis, 25, began his PhD Studentship in the University's Institute of Sport and Exercise Science in April 2014 after completing a Master's degree in Sports Coaching at the University of Worcester.

His research involves close work with the British Wheelchair Basketball squads, which train at the University of Worcester Arena, and focuses on performance analysis.

He will be going as the lead performance analyst for both squads and the men's team manager.

Mr Francis, who lives in Worcester, but is originally of Maidstone, Kent, said: "I will be utilising all the information that I have been compiling as part of my PhD in performance analysis in wheelchair basketball to ensure both squads achieve their performance targets.

"It is a great honour and privilege to be given the chance to transfer the skills I have learnt as a student as well as the research findings from my PhD into practice on the world's largest sporting stage.

"I hope my involvement with both the men's and women's British Wheelchair Basketball performance squads during the Rio Paralympic cycle has had a beneficial and contributing impact towards their continual medal achievements at the European Championships.

"It is now time to transfer these skills to the world stage, unlocking opponents" patterns and styles of play in order to find the marginal gains that will help the teams achieve their true playing potential and smash their performance targets."

Mr Payne, 21, of West Bromwich, has just completed his undergraduate degree and will be starting on a new Master's degree in Applied Performance Analysis in September.

He started working with the British Wheelchair Basketball team in February 2015 as a performance analyst intern assisting Mr Francis at the 2015 European Championships.

During the Paralympic Games Mr Payne will be working as an Assistant Performance Analyst for both the men's and women's squad.

"I felt amazed and overwhelmed by the news when John told me," he said.

"It was the culmination of all the hard work and persistence that I had put in as an intern for the last 18 months.

"I am honoured to be going as a vital member of the support staff and cannot wait to support the teams in their bid for medal success.""

University of Worcester students Sophie Carrigill, Jude Hamer and Leah Evans have made it into the Women's Wheelchair Basketball GB squad, which will compete in Rio.

Image Caption:

(left to right) Mick Donovan, Deputy Pro Vice Chancellor and Head of Institute of Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Worcester, University of Worcester PhD student John Francis and MSc student Nathan Payne and University of Worcester Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive Professor David Green pictured at the farewell'and good luck event for the GB Wheelchair Basketball teams at the Guildhall