Success around the World for DIS athletes

The first stories of great things came on Day 2 of the Japan Open  in Tokyo. Three DIS swimmers were taking part in a two week tour of the Far East with British Swimming. The end of the tough training camps were marked with a 3 day event at the Tatsumi International pool in Tokyo, Japan. The second day of the open saw two medals for DIS swimmers. Imogen Clark swam a great race to win gold in the 50m breaststroke with Sarah Vasey claiming bronze in the same race. On the final day Molly Renshaw achieved silver in the 200m breaststroke.



DIS also had success at the Glasgow International Badminton Championships. Lucy Atkins and Abi Hong proved a strong doubles team; coming away from the Championships with a Bronze medal in the U13 age group. It is great to see them having success in doubles as well as individually this season.

The Loughborough International Athletics meet on Sunday proved to be a great opportunity for DIS athletes to shine. Niamh Emerson was the first DIS athlete to compete, taking part in the high jump as part of the British Athletics Junior team. Niamh was using this opportunity as her season opener for high jump and wanted to get back her competitive mindset after a winter focusing on her training rather than competing.  Niamh cleared 1.83m to come third, 6cm short of her personal best but a great result for her.

Alex Knibbs, who made his GB debut in the European Youth Championships last season, was picked to compete in the 4 x 400m relay squad for GB juniors. Alex also featured as a guest in the 400mH where he ran a tremendous race knocking a second off his personal best! Jess Turner continued the winning ways of DIS hurdlers by winner her 400mH race wearing a Loughborough vest and maintaining her championship title. Our talented sprint hurdler, Alicia Barrett, also wearing a GB juniors vest, came 2nd with a great time of 13.18 in the 100mH. Whilst, Emily Coope, the youngest of our athletes on the day, came second in her 100m guest race clocking 12.18. This was Emily’s first time at Loughborough International and great preparation for July when she will compete again in the 100m at the British Championships.


Further South in London Ben Connor was flying the DIS flag at Highgate Harriers Night of 10,000m. Ben had a great race achieving a new personal best of 28.46.45. This 10,000m race incorporates the British Championships, so Ben also took home the bronze medal.

Ben Connor

What a talented bunch of athletes we have! Congratulations to all the team at home and abroad.

5 DIS Athletes to feature at Loughborough International this weekend

Sunday 21st May 2017 sees the 59th Edition of the Loughborough International (LIA), to be held at the Paula Radcliffe Athletics Stadium. This event attracts many big names who are looking to be selected for the GB team for the World Championships.

We are delighted to announce that 5 DIS athletes have been selected to compete at this event. It is testimony to their hard work, application and ability.

Following a record breaking indoor season over the short hurdles, Alicia Barrett will be competing in the 100mH. Niamh Emerson, European Youth Heptathlon bronze medallist, will be focusing on the high jump. Alex Knibbs who earnt his first GB vest in Tbilisi, Georgia, last Summer is part of a high calibre 4x 400m team.



Jess Turner is looking to maintain her excellent winter form as she moves towards the major championships and runs for the  Loughborough students team in the 400mH.  Whilst Emily Coope will be experiencing her first ever LIA to compete in the 100m.


If you would like to see any of our athletes compete at this event tickets can be bought through or on the day.

Good luck to Alicia, Niamh, Alex, Jess and Emily from all at the DIS.


Molly Renshaw

Three DIS swimmers selected for the FINA World Championships in Budapest this July

After an exciting British Championships at Ponds Forge International in Sheffield a 29 strong British Swimming team was selected to compete at the summer’s FINA World Championships to be held in Budapest. Three of those selected were talented DIS swimmers Molly Renshaw, Sarah Vasey and Abbie Wood.

The team is made up of Olympians and emerging young swimmers who will be making their senior debut. Bill Furniss, British Swimming Head Coach said,

“We’ve got all our top swimmers there along with an exciting group of juniors that came  through and showed themselves and their potential to achieve within the International arena. It’s a good balance between youth and senior, and will create a positive and productive dynamic within the squad.”


Molly Renshaw Molly Renshaw is the current British Record holder in the Womens 200m breaststroke. Molly finished 6th in the 200m breaststroke final at the Rio Olympic Games, in a time of 2:22.72. At the British Championships Molly walked away with a bronze medal in the womens 200m individual medlay finishing in 2:13.21. This will be her third World Championships.


Sarah Vasey won Gold at the British Championships in a tough field for the womens 100m breatstroke in a time of 1:06.78.


Abbie Wood took silver in the womens 200m individual medlay finishing in 2:12.63. The championships also saw Abbie claim a bronze medal in the 400 IM with a new personal best of 4:37.25.

If you would like to learn more about swimming take a look at

Good luck to the whole British Swimming team from all at the DIS!

Derbyshire Institute of Sport

Personal bests for Emerson and Knibbs representing Great Britain at Euro Youths

Niamh Emerson underlined her credentials as a potential star of the future by winning a heptathlon bronze medal at the inaugural European Youth Championships.

The Derbyshire Institute of Sport (DIS) athlete, from Shirland, broke the British Youth record for a second time in claiming a place on the podium for Great Britain in Tbilisi, Georgia.

The Amber Valley and Erewash AC athlete accrued 5,919 points in setting four personal bests across the seven events, spilt over two days.

The only two girls to beat her – Ukraine’s Alina Shukh (6,186) and Austria’s Sarah Lagger (6,175) – both bettered the previous World Youth best.

It highlighted the excellence in performance from the 17-year-old, who was aided in her season preparations by attending an overseas warm-weather training camp, made possible by DIS.

“I couldn’t be happier, everything went perfectly,” said Niamh. “My long jump and hurdles were a bit frustrating, as was the high jump, which I pulled out on the last attempt. But I was solid and secure in everything and I ran for my life in the 800m.

“I can’t wait to just lie in, sit down and take in the next few days. Being a team captain to this Great Britain team is crazy, because the standard is so high. As I was one of the first to compete, hopefully it gave the team a little bit of inspiration.”

Niamh, also on the ICON bursary programme, set her four personal bests in the 100m hurdles (14.17secs), shot put (12.81m), 200m (25.19secs) and javelin (35.44m).

She also recorded excellent results in the high jump (1.85m), long lump (5.95m) and 800m (2mins 12.65secs).

Fellow DIS and ICON athlete Alex Knibbs, from Duffield, was in action at the same meeting in the 400m hurdles and won both his heat (53.70) and semi-final (53.68) races.

In a high-class final, the 17-year-old then knocked almost seven tenths of a second off his time to come home in 53.02, further bringing down his personal best from the 53.12 mark he set in June.

DIS athletes are given extensive support through expert coaching, bespoke strength and conditioning programmes, physiotherapy and nutritional advice.

Go to to find out more about the programme.

The ICON bursary programme, meanwhile, which gives athletes from across the county financial support, a free leisure pass in their area and valuable PR exposure.

It is administered by Derbyshire Sport and funded by local authorities and private ICON members.

Derbyshire Institute of Sport

Alicia Barrett sets PB at World Juniors as Eva claims European bronze

Derbyshire Institute of Sport (DIS) sprint hurdler Alicia Barrett set three new personal bests on her way to finishing sixth in the World Junior (Under-20s) Championships.

The 18-year-old, from Chesterfield (pictured right, on the left), ran the second quickest time by a junior in a Great Britain vest as she clocked 13.15secs in the final, held in Bydgoszcz in Poland.

Alicia, also on the ICON bursary programme, had earlier finished second in heat two in a new best time of 13.35 behind Tia Jones of the USA (13.04).

She then marginally improved on that in the semi-final with 13.34, which was enough for her to make it through to the final as one of the two third fastest losers.

The closely contested, high-quality final was won by Elvia Herman of Belarus in a new championship record time of 12.85.

Former Derbyshire Schools’ Sport Association Awards Sportsperson of the Year winner Alicia is coached by Tony Minichiello, who also coaches Olympic heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis-Hill.

“I am so happy, I can’t believe I have just done that,” she told Athletics Weekly. “Everything went to plan. I don’t think I hit a hurdle. I am very proud, even though I was beaten by a 15-year-old!”

There’s also been a significant success for another DIS and ICON athlete, archer Eva-Henderson-Hirst (pictured below, centre), who won a bronze medal at the European Youth Championships in Romania.

The 17-year-old, from Flagg in the Derbyshire Dales, took a place in the podium in the Recurve Cadet Women Team event in partnership with Eleanor Piper and Alyssia Tromans-Anselll.

As athletes on the DIS, both Alicia and Eva DIS athletes are given extensive support through expert coaching, bespoke strength and conditioning programmes, physiotherapy and nutritional and lifestyle advice.

Derbyshire Institute of Sport

DIS swimmers claim hat-trick of successes at Swimming Championships

Derbyshire Institute of Sport (DIS) swimmers notched a hat-trick of successes at the British Swimming National Summer Championships in Sheffield last night (July 26).

Programme ambassador Abbie Wood (pictured right), now swimming for Loughborough University, was victorious in the 400m individual medley 17-18 years.

And current DIS Gold Programme athletes Imogen Clark and Sarah Vasey (pictured below) both won the 50m breaststroke sprints in their respective age categories – 17 to 18 years and 19-plus respectively.

Buxton swimmer Wood, 17, who was European Games gold medallist last year over her favourite 400m IM discipline was only third fastest after the heats, behind Maidenhead’s Constance Dean and Mova Centurion’s Rosie Rudin.

But coming off the back of a European Junior Championships bronze medal secured in Hungary earlier this month, the former Buxton Community School student won by more than two seconds in 4.42.20.

It was a time that would have been good enough to win the older 19+ category and was only 0.23 seconds outside her personal best of 4.41.97.

“I was really happy with my swim and I wasn’t expecting to go that fast at all,” said Abbie afterwards.

“I was going into it third and I didn’t know how people would develop from the heats to the final, but I was just happy to go close to my PB.

“I wasn’t taking it steady in the morning heat, but I think I was day-dreaming a bit and not concentrating. But it was good because that made me get my head into it a bit more than if I’d qualified first.

“It’s been a good experience for me because I swam the race differently. I went out a lot slower at first and quicker on my middle 200m, so I know if I can get all my best bits together in one race I will PB, which gives me confidence for next season.”

Morton’s Imogen, the British record holder over the short course 50m breaststroke at 30.02, had no problems making it through her heat as a winner and was equally comfortable in her final.

In it, the Derventio eXcel swimmer was just a tenth of a second down on her long course personal best, touching in 31.23, more than half a second clear of her nearest rival.

Imogen, who has focussed much of her training this season on the longer Olympic distance of 100m, said: “I think it was a good performance.

There’s been a lot of change this year with the squads and the coaches, so I’m happy with that.

“For me it’s more about the longer term processes towards 2018 and 2020 and keeping fired up. I think my body is changing a lot and I’m getting a lot stronger.

“It’s pleasing to win after being a bit disappointed at the Olympic trials, but I don’t really hold that in my mind… when’s it’s done, it’s done – you can’t go back and change anything.

“Things like that just make you stronger and more determined to go even harder in training.”

Allestree’s Sarah, 19, ranked number one in the UK over the 50m distance in breaststroke, was also well ahead of her nearest rivals in heats and the final.

The City of Derby swimmer clocked 31.27 in the morning and improved that to 30.84 in the evening final, just under half a second clear of second place, but just outside her season’s best 30.62, set in the ASA East Midland Region Swimming Championships.

Derbyshire Institute of Sport

Alicia Barrett sets her sights on European Junior Championships

Alicia Barrett has set her sights on European Junior Championships success in 2017 after breaking her personal best three times at the World Junior Championships last month.

The Derbyshire Institute of Sport (DIS) athlete, from Chesterfield (pictured right), ran the second quickest time by a junior in a Great Britain vest over 100m hurdles with 13.15secs to finish sixth in the final, held in Bydgoszcz in Poland.

The 18-year-old Chesterfield and District AC member had earlier knocked down her PB to 13.35 and then 13.34 to underline her improvement during 2016.

A former Derbyshire Schools’ Sport Association Awards Sportsperson of the Year winner , Alicia is coached by Toni Minichiello, who also coaches Olympic heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis-Hill.

“I’ was very pleased with how things went in Poland,” she said. “I didn’t really expect to run that quick, so I’m still kinda shocked.”

“The best thing about the meeting was achieving my goal of running in the final, and running a time I really didn’t expect.

“To move to second on the all-time junior list really made the experience, but the team atmosphere also was great.

“To do well definitely gives me motivation. I have a lot of things I need to tidy up on so hopefully over the winter I can do this and improve.

“The Commonwealth Games is definitely a future goal, but I’m still a junior next year so I would like to go to the European Junior Championships.”

Alicia has been thankful for the support of DIS over the past few months, who have provided vital assistance on a couple of occasions.

Like all athletes on the programme, she has also had access to expert coaching, bespoke strength and conditioning programmes and nutritional and lifestyle advice.

She added: “The biggest help is definitely the rehab I received after spraining my ankle in February, which was such a massive help and enabled me to get back training.

“DIS also paid for my warm weather training in April, which was really important for my training programme after coming back from injury.”

Derbyshire Institute of Sport

Strong finish for George Bloor at European Amateur Championships

Derbyshire Institute of Sport (DIS) golfer George Bloor has continued his fine form by posting another excellent finish, this time in the European Amateur Championships.

The High Peak golfer was tied 35th at the Estonian Golf and Country Club – a good result when considering the majority of the England’s elite squad missing the cut.

George, also on the ICON programme, shot rounds of 70, 72, 71 and 71 for a four-round four-under-par total of 284.

The result follows his second place finish in the English Amateur Championships last week.

The Cavendish Golf Club member is hugely thankful to the DIS for the support they have offered him and believes it has assisted his recent progress.

“The DIS programme has been a huge part in my development as a player and person,” said George. “I wouldn’t have the opportunities to have weekly coaching in areas that are so specific to my sport.

“An area that I feel has been most beneficial to me is the S&C department. I wouldn’t have the access to such good facilities and coaching if it wasn’t for DIS.

“The way that golf has developed means that everybody is becoming more athletic and stronger so it is essential in my sport that I am strong, and this has been developed with previous and current strength and conditioning coaches.

“Steve Astle is also a huge factor into my progress and I feel we have a really good relationship. His mentoring skills are very well suited to mine. He is somebody who I respect and trust that he wants the best for me and is good with identifying areas I can improve on.

“There are lots of areas in the DIS that I haven’t taken full advantage of such as psychologists and nutritionists, but I will look forward to working with those coaches in the future.

“I’m very grateful for the support I receive from DIS and it is definitely a big factor in with my achievements so far.

“I have no doubt that I will get to an elite level as a professional and DIS have sped up the process so far and there continued support will help me in the long run.”

Derbyshire Institute of Sport

Imogen Clark receives GB call up

Derbyshire Institute of Sport (DIS) and ICON bursary programme swimmer Imogen Clark has been handed a significant boost in her bid to qualify for the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia with a Great Britain call up.

The 17-year-old from Morton, North East Derbyshire, has been selected to be part of a British squad to swim at an international meet in Ontario, Canada.

Derventio eXcel’s Imogen, who won three medals at the 2016 British Summer National Championships in Sheffield, will travel out to compete in December.

“This is great opportunity for Imogen to gain valuable international race experience,” said DIS’ swimming coach Jamie Main.

“It will enable her to put into practice the process and tactical goals we have set this season at a high level meet.

“This is all working towards peaking for World and Commonwealth trials in 2017. The continued support from DIS has enabled Imogen to hit the top of the GB junior ranks and now it’s about focussing daily to transfer that into a successful senior career.”

Imogen has been helped by the DIS through strength and conditioning and physio, which has helped her improve her core strength.

Like other athletes on the programme, she also has access to expert coaching and nutritional and lifestyle advice.