Carla McMullen is one of those people who doesn’t take no for an answer, she doesn’t quit and will strive to make sure there’s a performance at the end of her hard work.
Her hard work can be seen not only in her athletics training but also in her attitude toward her classroom studies.
Recently Carla successfully completed an Extended Diploma in Sport Exercise and Science at Gateshead College. She did so with a Triple Distinction grade profile, good enough to take her on to Northumbria University at the end of the summer were she will study Occupational Therapy.
Carla’s hard work toward her studies personifies the idea of student athletes, an idea that Gateshead College is keen to develop.
‘’Our young athletes are supported so they are able to achieve the highest possible standards of education whilst developing their chosen sporting talent’’ Commented Lewis Pendleton, Academy for Sport Manager.
‘Carla has demonstrated excellent self discipline and a motivation that has allowed her to get the most out the opportunities Matt has presented her with. She has also benefited from the unique partnership the Athletics Academy has with local clubs.
Carla is coached by Jacqui Pringle who has met and designed her program with the added value offered from being on the athletics academy. During a typical week she will enjoy indoor jumps sessions and strength and condition sessions delivered by the college’s UKSCA accredited strength and conditioning team.
Because of this she has been able to jump personal bests and become a stronger athlete as well as a good student.
She said, “Strength and conditioning with Matt has brought me on so, so much! I've become a lot more powerful and stronger and that's what allowed me to jump a PB in almost every competition last year.”
‘’Studying and training at Gateshead College has removed a lot of stress that I would have had travelling from home to training in a short space of time if I studied elsewhere. It is also reassuring that everyone at the college is working to help me become better, in the classroom and in my athletics.”
Students at Gateshead College regularly get the opportunity to rub shoulders with world class athletes such as JJ Jegede and Nadia Williams. Particularly poignant for Carla who is also a horizontal jumps athlete.
During her time on the Athletics Academy Carla has gained qualification for the English Schools Championships in 2011 and just this week won Gold in the women’s Triple jump at the British Colleges National Track & Field Championships held at Gateshead Stadium.
Looking back on her time at the college Carla admits it was tough at times, but that she was thankful to have other athletes around her to support her. The felling of a shared experience has added to her education and personal development.
“Coming to college has brought me on as an athlete and made me realise that it's hard sometimes but it's all worth it in the end!” She beamed.
“Being around other athletes all the time makes you feel like a big family, whereas if I went to school or 6th form college, I wouldn't have felt that as there wouldn't have been as many, if any, other athletes I had things in common with.’’
“It has also increased my confidence knowing that people respect me as an athlete and respect the decisions I make.”
Carla’s winning jump at the BCS Championships of 10.59m proves that hard work does pay off.
“When the competition started I opened up with the biggest jump i've opened up a competition with and I ended up finishing with a distance of 10.59m, the longest I’ve jumped since July last year,” She said.
“Winning the first ever British Colleges Championships felt amazing! I got shivers and goosebumps after my final jump!
“I felt privileged to have taken part in the first champs and I know in a few years time, it will turn into a huge competition!
“To win the champs representing Gateshead College at our home track was brilliant, it’s given me a lot of motivation for the rest of the season!
If you would like to follow in Carla’s footsteps and combine full time education alongside full time athletics training then contact Academy Coach Matt Wood on email@example.com . Alternatively come along to the next open event on 18th June 16.30-19.00 at the stadium campus. For A Levels attend a specific open event on 27th June 16.30-18.30 at the stadium.
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