Saint Sport Interview: 2016 hopeful, Laura Scott

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The Saint speaks to Laura Scott about Saints Sport, UK Athletics and her hopes for competing at the 2016 Olympic Games.

GREAT SCOTT: Potential Olympian grateful for Saints Sport assistance

THE SAINT: What are the sports that you do?

Laura Scott: Within the University I’m a rugby player; but I got talent scouted for UK Athletics for throwing [hammer, shot or discus]. I had put myself forward for ‘Tall and Talented’, which was a Rowing idea. I didn’t get through, but I heard back about eight months later, as UK Athletics had tabled profiles of about three and a half thousand people, and they selected about fifty girls and the same number of boys. So I went along in December, got through to the final ten girls, having done ‘explosive power’, ‘competitive psychology’, and so on. The last round was in February, and they’ve taken through four girls, who’re all so close. So starting from the end of this month, I’m training at Loughborough on a regular basis and I’ve got an overseas training camp to go to. And at some point, hopefully after exams, I’ll be asked to move down to Loughborough to train for five years and work towards the 2016 Olympics.

TS: How long have you been involved in competitive sports?

LS: This is my second year playing Rugby, I love it. I’ve played Netball since I was about seven and I’ve been in a regional development squad for that. Coming to uni, I found I couldn’t do Netball and Rugby – I think I’m more of a physical person than a tactical person; it worked better for me.

TS: What’s your training on a weekly basis – is there a routine to follow?

LS: Today, I’ve got circuits training and Rugby practice, tomorrow it’s weights, Wednesday weights and a Rugby match, Thursday weights and Rugby training, Friday throwing training, Saturday weights training or a day off and Sunday a day off or a Rugby match. Squeezing in the academic side is very difficult!

TS: How have the facilities and staff in St Andrews helped you?

LS: The staff at the Sports Department have been absolutely fantastic – as soon as I found out about my trials, I emailed the head of Rugby and he put me in contact with Debby [Sargent, Performance Sports Manager], and she’s devised a sports programme for me based on weights; she’s put me in for BUCS weightlifting. They’ve been really good – they’ve given me free programmes, and if I had had to pay for them they’d have been a lot of money. They’ve been really supportive and I’ve enjoyed it a lot.

TS: Do you know any more about what the five-year training will involve?

LS: Not really! They haven’t yet finalised which of the throwing events we’re doing, so over the next couple of months they’ll be making sure we’re in the right sports and then weights training, flexibility training and throwing training. And to keep on going, we get a scholarship to start with, and they also have a good relationship with Loughborough University, so I could continue my degree there, as they’re able to schedule your lectures around your training regime.

TS: Do you have any big competition experience to prepare you for what’s ahead?

LS: Not at all – I’m very competitive, and a lot of the things they were doing in the trials were psychological stuff, so they’d say to you, ‘That girl just sprinted the thirty metres 0.1 seconds faster than you, so what are you going to do about it?’ Unfortunately the Loughborough training overlaps with SUS throwing and BUCS weightlifting, but I’ve got a long time to prepare [for big competitions].

TS: What are your hopes for the future – is 2016 the ultimate goal?

LS: That’s the point in the programme. I understand it’s difficult – basic ability and injury could get in my way, but that’s the end goal. And what’s good about throwing is it’s quite a long career: once you’ve got there and built up that much muscle, you don’t have to be that young to do it, so if I made it to that level I could probably stay there for ten to twelve years, so potentially into my thirties, which seems a bit weird to me now!

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