Sheffield Hallam University to honour local sporting inspirations
24 September 2012
Sheffield Hallam University will keep the Olympic flame burning when it honours two of its local sporting heroes as part of its 2012 graduation programme.
Doncaster's Taekwondo world champion Sarah Stevenson, who represented Team GB at London 2012, will collect an honorary doctorate for her services to sport during the faculty of health and wellbeing ceremony at Sheffield City Hall.
And joining her at the podium on 20th November will be rugby league legend Mark Aston, best known for kicking the penalty which brought the Rugby League Challenge Trophy to Sheffield Eagles.
Sarah, who won the world championship at 2011 in Gyeongju and was chosen to read the competitors' oath at London 2012, is a stunning role model and a shining example of how hard work, commitment, belief and strength can bring its rewards.
She won bronze at Beijing 2008, and although a cruciate ligament injury hindered her medal attempts at London 2012, she has won plaudits from the sport community and beyond for her approach to taekwondo and life.
Sarah, who attended Don Valley High School in Scawthorpe, started to make a name for herself in 1998 by becoming the Junior World Champion, followed by Junior European Champion in 1999. She went on to become the first British Taekwondo World Champion, ever, in 2001. Sarah has since become four times European Champion and World silver medalist in 2005.
She has set up a company ‘Sarah Stevenson Inspires' which aims to motivate, educate and inspire people of all ages to achieve their goals both in and out of the sporting arena.
She has also proved an inspiration away from the sporting arena after nursing both her parents during their terminal illnesses. She has also been awarded the MBE for her services to sport.
Sarah said: "It will be a pleasure to stand in front of Sheffield Hallam students to collect my honorary doctorate. It's been a challenging year of real extremes for me, but to collect this honour in front of a south Yorkshire audience will rank alongside me being chosen to read the competitors' oath as a particular highlight of 2012."
Former scrum half Mark is now chief executive of Sheffield Eagles and has championed strong links with Sheffield Hallam University.
His supportiveness has seen some of the University's talented rugby league-playing students develop into international players and, as a result, the University's rugby team will soon be challenging for a place in the BUCS premier league.
Mark was a scrum-half who joined Sheffield Eagles in 1985 and also played for Great Britain. He retired from playing in 2004 having been the figurehead in the fight to save the Eagles in 1999.
He says his biggest achievement so far with the New Sheffield Eagles is the performance structure set up to develop players from within the Sheffield area.
Mark said: "It's a pleasure to accept this award and cement the excellent relationship between Sheffield Eagles and Sheffield Hallam. I know many of the graduates personally and am delighted to be joining them as they celebrate their fantastic achievements."
Sheffield Hallam University will be awarding honorary doctorates to a number of key figures from the worlds of sport, business, the arts and other industries in its 2012 graduation ceremonies.
Join the 2418 followers of @PodiumFor2012
Thank ypu Erin for my flowers @KatieNK
Have you heard ‘Magic Tape Twenty-Four’ by @themagicianclub on #SoundCloud? https://soundcloud.com/themagician/magic-tape-twenty-four?utm_source=soundcloud&utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=twitter
Have you heard ‘Pablo Sánchez - Out And About’ by @unpablosanchez on #SoundCloud? https://soundcloud.com/pablosanchez/pablo-sa-nchez-out-and-about?utm_source=soundcloud&utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=twitter
Thanks mate @NotThatAdamLong. Will catch up with you at the end of season night out. Big campaign for us both next year!