Gordon Benson
BSc Nutrition

Gordon Benson

What is it like being a British Triathlete and study at Leeds?

As a British triathlete I have received a Sports Scholarship from the University of Leeds. This means I receive support from the University in many ways allowing me to coordinate my life in sport and my life studying at university. The support ranges through psychology, finance, strength conditioning, injury prevention and physiotherapy which, in sport are all the key details that help your achieve your goals.

I understand you are a Sports Scholar? Can you tell us what that means and something about your life as a world class athlete?

I compete in the triathlon and have a sports scholarship from the University. This means I receive support from the University in many ways allowing me to coordinate my life in sport and my life studying at university. The support ranges through psychology, finance, strength conditioning, injury prevention and physiotherapy which, in sport are all the key details that help your achieve your goals.

What competitions have you competed in recently?

Since term started in September I have been to the World Championships in Auckland, New Zealand where I finished fifth and I have just got back from Australia where I competed in the Australian Youth Olympic Festival.

How is the University helping you to achieve your sporting goals?

Since the beginning of the course I have been allowed to take time out and travel across the world for various competitions. I have also been aided by my tutor and lecturers who have helped me catch up on work I have missed, and before going away get ahead, so I don’t have too much to do when I get back. I have also been allowed to take my exams in the summer as I missed the exam period in January which is really helpful. 

How do you manage to balance the demands of your sport and study? Has it been difficult?

It is hard work managing sport and studying because there are only so many hours in a day. You have to manage your time well and be as productive as you can; you’ve always got to be doing something. You can’t afford to lie in bed until 12 o’clock, you’ve got to try and make the most of your day.

Why did you decide to study Nutrition?

I choose Nutrition as I’ve always been interested in science and it’s science related, it has good job prospects and I can apply it to my sport as well, so there is a link which I find interesting.

Why did you choose to study at the University of Leeds?

I like Leeds as a place, I’m from Leeds originally. I would have been nice to go away from home but the level and quality of the training group here and the athletes around me meant that the sensible option was to stay in Leeds, keep focused on what I’ve been doing with the same group and support around me.

What do you find most interesting about the course you are studying?

The aspect of the course I find most interesting is the biology and chemistry side of things. I have always found biology and chemistry interesting; it is what I always enjoyed most throughout school.

Do you think studying about Food Science and Nutrition will help you achieve your sporting ambitions?

I don’t directly think that studying about the subject will help achieve my sporting ambitions but hopefully I will learn from it and pick up some interesting techniques and tips.

How would you describe life as a student at Leeds?

I was already in Leeds before I started uni but as a student you see a whole new part to Leeds and different things you never realised were there before. I’m glad I didn’t travel away to a different place like all my friends, they all moved away but I just made new friends and I really enjoy it.

What advice would you give to anyone considering combining sport and study?

Combining sport and study is hard work but it is definitely a good thing to do. I enjoy sport and I imaging lots of other people do so you don’t need to give it up once you come to uni. It’s worth putting the time management effort in so you can do both at the same time.

What are your plans for Rio 2016?

Rio, like London, could come along too soon; I’m not too sure at the moment. I’m just going to go with the flow, keep enjoying what I’m doing and if in 2015/16 I’m in the right place I’ll do everything I can to qualify but for now I’m happy with where I am. I’m in a similar position as to where Johnny and Alistair Brownlee were at my age and they went on to achieve what they did at London so it’s not out of the question but I’ll just have to wait and see.