Sophie Becker from Wexford is a promising young Irish athlete, who has represented Ireland in international competition at the U23 European Outdoor Athletics Championships in the 400m sprint discipline. Sophie is also the reigning Irish Indoor 400m Varsity Champion. She is currently in second year studying for a BSc in Genetics and Cell Biology and is supported by the DCU Sports Academy.
Sophie began running at the age of ten when a family friend suggested that it would help to control her asthma. She quickly realised that she had a talent and from the age of 15 began to train seriously with her running club, St Joseph’s AC. She knew she wanted to study genetics and settled on DCU after attending an Open Day which led to her getting in touch with Enda Fitzpatrick, Director of DCU’s Athletics Academy:
“Enda told me about the scholarships, training and other supports that I would get in DCU which definitely influenced my decision to study here.”
Now in her second year at DCU, Sophie believes that training with DCU has taken her performance to a new level:
“Through the DCU Sports Academy, I have a new coach, Jeremy Lyons, and a new training group which have really upped the level that I am training at. I really wouldn’t be where I am today, representing Ireland, without this support. The facilities in DCU are amazing too, we train in Morton Stadium and I have access to a gym in St Clare’s which is one of the best I have come across. It is amazing to have everything that I need so close.
I am training six days per week which can be hard on the body but through the Sports Academy I get subsidised physio visits. I really can’t emphasise how much this helps to keep my body in shape. When you’re training at such a high intensity, you need to get rubs out to ensure that your muscles are recovering well.
My sports scholarship has also been a great help in enabling me to pay for warm weather training from which I have seen great results and in paying for race fees, flights and accommodation to race abroad.”
Sophie is currently working hard and is focused on completing her degree by 2020 at the same time as aiming to qualify for the European Athletics Championships in Berlin this summer and the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020. Maintaining high academic standards and fulfilling her sporting ambitions can be challenging as she explains:
“It is not easy juggling my academic and sporting commitments all the time but Enda and the Sports Academy have been a great support. I’m not sure that I would have been able to balance both the athletics and study without this help, one would probably have had to go.”