Two Robert Gordon University students are gearing up to take the hockey field by storm this year.
Siobhan Cowie (18) and Aimee Clark (25) are set to compete for Scotland throughout 2011. Both students are supported by the RGU: SPORT scholarship programme which provides tailor-made training, financial assistance and lifestyle management.
Goalkeeper Siobhan Cowie, from Cairnlee Avenue East in Cults, Aberdeen, was selected for the Scotland Women's Under 21 indoor squad in December 2010. Her selection followed an intensive three-month training process that culminated in a tournament with the training squad and some of the best teams in Scotland. It was from this tournament that the final team was handpicked.
Siobhan, who is in her first year of a Management with Human Resources Management degree, has played in goals for four years. Having formerly played for the North District Girls team from 2007 to 2010, and latterly in the Scotland U18 Home Nations squad, her selection for the U21s marks a natural progression, though one she did not expect to come about so soon.
"I didn't expect to be picked ahead of some older, more experienced goalkeepers," commented Siobhan. "I was only really thinking of the tournament as a means of gaining more experience rather than thinking of the selection process, so I'm understandably ecstatic about being chosen."
Siobhan's contribution to the Under 21s team has already been proven, as she aided her team to reach fourth place in the Indoor Junior Nations European Championships held in Stirling from 21 to 23 January this year. She is now aiming to be picked for the outdoor squad, for which trials begin this month. If selected, she will play in the June Four Nations tournament.
Centre forward, Aimee Clark, who works as a Sports Assistant and Volunteer Co-ordinator at the University's RGU: SPORT facility, has been selected once again to play for the Scottish Women's Senior Field hockey team.
Originally from Elgin and now living on Merkland Lane, Aberdeen, Aimee has competed for Scotland at every age group from Under 16 to Under 21, and now as a member of the Senior Women's team. She has competed in many prestigious tournaments throughout the world, including the European Championships, Celtic Cup, the Junior World Cup and in Senior World Cup Qualifiers. Most recently, she took part in the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi.
Her rise to success hasn't been without setbacks, however, having suffered from numerous knee-based injuries throughout the years. A particularly unfortunate incident came shortly after being chosen to compete in the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. Not long before leaving for Australia, she ruptured her right anterior cruciate ligament during a Four Nations tournament in South Africa and was consequently unable to compete.
Aimee is now sponsored by OSSUR - a manufacturer of non-invasive orthopaedics - who have provided her with a Coaches Training Institute (CTi) custom made knee-brace.
"I'm really grateful for Ossur's sponsorship, as the brace has given me the confidence to continue to play," said Aimee.
The centre forward has recently joined the University as a student by gaining entry to the Masters degree programme in Physiotherapy.
"I chose to study at the University for a number of reasons," she continued. "It's a very modern, forward-looking University and the course I have chosen has a tremendous curriculum and excellent lecturers. The scholarship programme and great training facilities at RGU: SPORT are also a huge advantage as they help me combine my career and sporting aspirations."
Looking ahead, Aimee will join her Scotland team mates in a series of national and European events, including the Great Britain Super League and the Club Champions Trophy in April, Champions Challenge in June and the European Championships in August which will be held in Poland.
Filippo Antoniazzi is Director of Sport at RGU: SPORT. He commented: "We're proud to play a supportive role in Siobhan and Aimee's sporting careers. Both have proven themselves more than capable of representing their countries on the field and their determination and skill are exemplary. We look forward to charting their progress across the year and remain committed to offering them the cutting-edge training and support programmes that we provide for all our scholars."
ENDS 10 February 2011
There will be an opportunity to photograph and interview Siobhan Cowie, Aimee Clark and Filippo Antoniazzi at RGU: SPORT on the University's Garthdee campus on Friday 11 February at 11.15am.
Members of the media should meet Communications Officer, Andrew Youngson, at the main reception to the sports centre upon arrival.
Robert Gordon University
Tel: 01224 262389
Mob: 07921 587530