July 19, 2022, by brzbs1
Commonwealth Athlete in Focus: Amy Platten
Amy Platten has recently completed her Bsc Neuroscience degree at the University of Nottingham, earning a first class grade to accompany her thriving Judo career. In a blockbuster summer for Amy, her grades arrived after her selection by Team England for this summer’s Commonwealth Games, and we cannot wait to see the #GreenandGold scholar hit the mat in Birmingham representing her country.
Amy has been a sport scholar at UoN Sport for multiple years and won the BUCS National title securing gold in the 2020 women’s Judo U48 category, before claiming a bronze medal at the European U23 title in Budapest in 2021. Now, Amy moves her focus to the huge challenge ahead when the Commonwealth Judo competition begins on the 1st of August. In anticipation of Amy’s efforts at what will be a home Commonwealths, we recently spoke with her about her preparations and aims, as well as how much she has enjoyed her time at the University of Nottingham.
How have your preparations been going for this summer’s games?
My preparations have been rigorous. I had my last exam on the 31st of May – which was the same day I received my games selection e-mail – and I was back to work the next day. I even had a training camp in Germany a few days later, and I then travelled to Italy the following week for a training camp. Recently I have begun training with the commonwealth team in Alicante and it’s been great to throw myself in and really be able to knuckle down with judo after finishing with exams. I’ve barely been in England this month and I’m extremely grateful to have these training opportunities to prepare.
What are your aims for these Commonwealths?
I think for myself and all of my teammates the aim is to win a gold medal and nothing less. It would be a disservice to Team England to not aim for the absolute top result that I feel is well within reach.
How long have you been studying at the University of Nottingham?
I have literally just finished my 3 year Neurosciences degree this summer and will graduate with a first class degree.
How have you found the experience of being at the university combining study with sport?
Honestly, although there is no doubt that there were sacrifices to be made and I constantly had a lot on my plate, it was some of the best years of my life. I didn’t have a normal university experience but that was to be expected as a full time athlete & student (not to forget Covid too!). But my expectations of support from the university were exceeded each year. My degree staff were some of the best & most inspiring people who really and truly got me through the 3 years of studying. It helped that I absolutely loved neuroscience and each year found it to be even more fascinating. I’d like to say a special mention to Dr Maria Toledo-Rodriguez (my tutor) who has guided me through this intense course and allowed me to really thrive from my first day at uni. Her favourite quote “we are not born knowing everything” and that stuck with me – it made the difficult aspects of the course seem less intimidating. Another mention to my course director and supervisor for my dissertation, Dr Gareth Hathway, who has been a true inspiration to learn from and could not have been more understanding with a student juggling elite sport. It was the real reason I chose this university, their promise of academic flexibility was fulfilled. It is hard to put into words how thankful I am for the unparalleled support from the University of Nottingham & UoN sport throughout these past three years.
I must add, doing a neuroscience degree and full time sport at this level is no walk in the park, it requires a lot of discipline. There’s no drinking, going out, late nights. I missed out on a large part of the social life and at times this was really difficult, but to be the best you need to put the work in. When fellow full time athletes were able to rest after sessions, I had to sit at my laptop and study. Equally when other students were able to go on holidays and party, I was training. I’ve even had to delay my graduation to winter due to the clash with the Commonwealth Games, but overall, last 3 years have only made me more resilient and I will never lose the skills I gained from a dual career.
You were a national champion for the #GreenandGold in 2020, how was that experience?
I have absolutely loved representing the University of Nottingham and University of Nottingham Sport. It was something very novel to me but it was great to be surrounded by other student athletes and just enjoy doing the sport you love with people equally as passionate and competitive. And who doesn’t love wearing the #GreenandGold with a gold medal!
Editor’s note – On winning the BUCS Nationals title in 2020, Amy told UoN Sport “Competing in my first championships is different than I expected. Everyone has each other’s backs. You get an extra buzz doing it for the team spirit and want to do it for the university – I have absolutely loved it so far!”
What are your future aims in the sport and how are you planning on using your degree?
Apart from the upcoming Commonwealth Games, I have my sights set on the 2024 and 2028 Olympic Games. Olympic qualification for Paris 2024 has just begun so it’s going to be an exciting 2 years.
How am I planning on using my degree? Good question! It’s something I’m really passionate about using and exploring the subject in more depth, but how I will achieve this is currently unknown. I think I’ll focus the next two years on qualifying for the Olympic Games as I’ve never just had Judo with no other obligations and I really want to give it my all. After that, it’s definitely something I will look into. Those 3 years were far too hard to not use!
We thank Amy for her time and wish her the very best this summer. We also congratulate Amy on her fantastic accomplishment in achieving a first class degree as a dual-career athlete here at the University of Nottingham.
You can find out more about University of Nottingham Sport at the 2022 Commonwealth Games and keep up to date with the #GreenandGold’s achievements by visiting our dedicated Commonwealth web page.
Find out more about performance sport and combining your studies with elite university sport at the University of Nottingham here.
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