Psychologists win gold at Olympic awards

Canterbury Christ Church University staff and students involved in the classification of athletes with intellectual disabilities for the London 2012 Paralympics are celebrating their triumph at the Podium Awards on 3 May. The Podium Awards were a prestigious one-off celebration recognising the vital role colleges and universities across the UK have played in delivering the London 2012 Games.

Jan Burns, who leads the Canterbury team, is Professor of Clinical Psychology at Canterbury Christ Church University and Head of Eligibility for the International Sports Federation for Persons with Intellectual Disability. Professor Burns has also received a public engagement grant from the British Psychological Society to help her provide online and physical resources about elite athletes with intellectual disabilities.

The Canterbury researchers fought off competition from more than 230 nominated projects to win the gold medal in the RCUK Award for Exceptional Research Contribution in front of over 350 attendees and dignitaries at a ceremony held at Forman's Fish Island, overlooking the Olympic stadium.  

Paul Deighton, chief executive of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, said:

“Colleges and universities have played an integral role in supporting London 2012. I congratulate all involved with the Sport Classification for Paralympic Athletes with intellectual disabilities project on winning a gold medal at the Podium Awards. This project is a tremendous example of how the power of the Games is being used to inspire people to make a real and lasting difference.”