UHI and HISA announce 2023 Sporting Blues winners

UHI and HISA have announced the winners of the 2023 Sporting Blues. The prestigious awards highlight the outstanding sporting achievements of UHI students. They are presented to people who attain an exceptionally high standard of performance in their sport.

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Tiandra Anderson, Laura Watt, Lois Garland, Matiss Robertson, Cerys Cairns, David Rose and Jenny Graham

Jenny Graham is the recipient of an Honorary Blue, awarded to athletes who have won medals at World Championships, World Cups, Commonwealth Games, Olympic Games or equivalent relevant to their sport. The award may also be made to a person connected with UHI with an outstanding contribution to university, Scottish, British or world sport. Jenny was a student at UHI Inverness and in 2018 became the fastest woman to cycle around the world unsupported. She completed the 18,000 mile journey across four continents in 124 days.

Laura Watt has been awarded a Full Blue, as well as the UHI Sportsperson of the Year title. Laura is studying soft tissue therapy at UHI Perth and won a gold medal for Scotland in the World Junior Curling Championships 2023 which took place in Germany. Earlier in the year, she also competed in the Winter World University Games at Lake Placid in New York state, representing Team GB and achieving fourth place. Late last year she won a silver medal in the World Junior B Championships for Scotland. 

Speaking about her award, Laura said: “I’m really happy to receive the UHI Sportsperson of the Year award and to also achieve a sporting blue. The past academic year has been super busy for me and I’ve received lots of support from my lecturers to keep up with my studies which makes being the Sportsperson of the Year even more rewarding.”

Lois Garland was awarded a Full Blue for her achievements in athletics. Lois studies at UHI Perth and won a gold medal both at the Scottish Student Athletics Indoor Championships and the Scottish Student Athletics Outdoor Championships for 200m. She was also recently selected for Scotland at a senior level for individual 200m and 4x100m relay.

A third Full Blue was awarded to David Rose who studies Automotive Engineering at UHI Perth. David won a gold medal in the hammer at the Scottish Student Athletics Outdoor Championships. He said:

“I started throwing hammer seven years ago. My coach was very helpful in trying to get my technique better and he shared the knowledge that everyone has the potential to do great things, but it is those who go out there and train their hardest every week who have the best chance. Since then, I have made a goal to keep throwing better and hopefully get recognised one day for any achievement I get. Being recognised with a Sporting Blue from UHI for my achievements in athletics is quite surreal, I have always dreamed of moments like this. I feel proud to do the sport that I love alongside my studies, I'm proud of what I have accomplished in my athletics career in the past year and I'm looking forward to competing for UHI in the future.”

Cerys Cairns, another UHI Perth student and recipient of a Full Blue, has been picked to play for the Scottish National Netball Squad, competing in South Africa. She also plays in the Sky Sports televised Netball Super League for Glasgow based Strathclyde Sirens.

Matiss Robertson, achieving a Full Blue, has been representing UHI in the cycling category for the past three years. Matiss, who studies at UHI West Highland, has competed in national level events picking up a first place in the University of St Andrew Time Trial Including Scottish Student Time Trial Championships 2023.

He said: “I feel honoured to be receiving such a prestigious award. It’s not easy juggling my training along with studying so it’s really nice to see the hard work pay off. I’d like to thank Aaron Johnson and Andre Paul Van for the nomination and all the support they have given me through my university years. Thanks also to Aaron for his work in organising some of the Scottish Student Cycling events that have allowed me to achieve this award.”

Finally, a Half Blue was awarded to Tiandra Anderson from UHI West Highland for her achievements in downhill mountain bike racing. Although fairly new to the sport, Tiandra has been achieving great results and regular podium placing. She is currently second overall in the women’s category for the sport in Scotland.

She commented: “I’m honoured to be amongst the few athletes receiving this award, it shows that in such little time big objectives are achievable! I’m excited to see what the future brings for me and can’t wait to continue my degree and riding my bike.”

To find out more about the Sporting Blues, visit www.hisa.uhi.ac.uk/what-s-on/sporting-blues