Sport and academia are often seen as incompatible partners, with elite athletes finding it necessary to put their studies on hold while they commit to the training and competition demands of an elite athlete programme.
Now a programme launched by Atlètic Terrassa Hockey Club and Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona seeks to dispel the myth that academic life and sporting life doesn’t mix and to provide a solution.
Under a new programme, launched by the Spanish hockey club, a consortium of five hockey clubs and five partnering universities from across Europe will work together to enable elite athletes to combine study and training.
Known as the STICK project, funding to the value of €372,251 has been made available by the European Commission to allow clubs from five countries to facilitate high level academic work while pursuing a career as an elite athlete.
The clubs and universities taking part are: Spanish club Atlètic Terrassa Hockey Club, co-ordinator and promoter of the project, and the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona; Beeston and Nottingham Trent University, in the United Kingdom; KHC Dragons and Universiteit Antwerpen, in Belgium; Pembroke Wanderers and Dublin City University, in Ireland. In a further development, HC Rotterdam and Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam will also join the programme following their official twinning with the English Premier Division side Beeston.
The funding is available as part of the Erasmus+ programme, which includes a Sport element. The STICK project is being designed within the framework of the Erasmus+ programme. This particular project was selected, along with others, from 370 applicants to receive the funding. The project will run for two years and is the first of its kind in Europe. In the longer term, it is expected that the European Commission will implement this scheme across a number of sports.
Graham Griffiths, chairman of English club side Beeston, said, “A considerable amount of work has taken place across the clubs and universities in the consortium to receive such a high level of funding, which will benefit all the clubs and universities involved in the ‘STICK’ project. I would particularly like to thank our friends at Atlética Terrassa, for leading this project to its fruition. We are delighted to be working alongside the best universities and hockey clubs in Europe.”
The next stages will involve a series of meetings, the first one hosted in Barcelona on the 8 and 9 February.
This project is very much in line with FIH's strategies main aim of making hockey a global sport the inspires the next generation.
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