Featured News JCU backs a local champion

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Tue, 22 Mar 2016

JCU backs a local champion

Tracey Hannah competing
Tracey Hannah in competition

James Cook University is proud to announce sponsorship of a local champion – mountain bike rider Tracey Hannah, currently world No. 3 and holder of the women’s downhill national title.

Fresh from blitzing the competition and winning the elite women’s downhill title at the National Championships in Victoria on the weekend, Ms Hannah will accept James Cook University sponsorship today (Tuesday 22 March).

JCU’s sponsorship will assist her in studying for her next career – in either multi-media sports journalism or sports marketing and business.

The sponsorship will contribute to the cost of her degree, which will begin with part-time, external study to accommodate her international competition schedule.

She will also receive support from JCU’s Elite Athlete Program.

“I’m grateful to JCU for their support. It means I can focus on my racing now, knowing that when I cross that finish line for the last time I can move straight into full-time study, getting ready for my next career,” Ms Hannah said.

“I’ve seen how hard retirement can be for sportspeople, when they make that move from what they know and love. Suddenly they’ve got lots of time on their hands, and no clear sense of what they want to do next or how they’re going to get there.

“I’ve still got a good few years of racing ahead of me, but I’m really pleased to be starting to plan for what comes next.”

Announcing the scholarship in Cairns today (Tuesday 22 March), Coordinator of JCU’s Elite Athlete Program Dr Glen Deakin said the Program provided support and flexibility to help elite athletes fit study into their training and competition schedules.

“Whether their studies are directly or indirectly related to their area of sporting prowess, elite athletes bring a range of experience and personal qualities that are of great benefit in their studies and their next careers,” Dr Deakin said.

“Elite athletes have to juggle their studies with gruelling travel schedules and demanding professional commitments, but making a start to their degree can make a real difference to the next stage in their working lives.”

After discussions with JCU careers staff, Tracey has identified journalism, marketing and business as her areas of interest. She is completing some introductory subjects before making her final choice.

“Some people might be a little bit surprised by my choices, but it’s not as big a jump as you might think,” she said.

“These are areas I’m already interested in. I deal directly with my sponsors and the business side of racing, and I’ve seen how important sports media is in building awareness of mountain biking and generating support for the competitors.”

Tracey Hannah is home in Cairns for a short break after winning the national championships in Bright, Victoria last weekend. She will be jetting off to France early next week to compete in the first round of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup downhill series in Lourdes.

Cairns will host the opening round of the 2016 UCI MTB World Cup cross-country and round two of the downhill international competition on 23-24 April.

“It’s exciting having World Cup events at our back door, and this year we’ll be barracking for a local champion who’s also a JCU student,” Dr Deakin said.

Media enquiries: linden.woodward@jcu.edu.au