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Piran Phillips, a high-performance athlete at Solent University, Southampton is swapping the rainy south for the sunshine of Perth as he travels to Australia to compete in the ICF Canoe Ocean Racing World Championships this winter.

14th November 2023
Sport and fitnessHomepage - News - Standard

Recognised for his sporting ability and determination, Piran was awarded a sporting scholarship in 2023 and invited to join Solent's high-performance academy which supports the next generation of sporting talent, including gold-medal winning gymnast, Kelly Simm.

The academy helps rising athletes manage their sporting and academic careers as they cope with the demands that come with being an athlete competing at the highest level. From sports therapy and psychology to nutrition and training, Solent is committed to championing the next generation of sporting talent.

One to watch, with a talent for surf lifesaving, ocean kayaking, ski and canoeing, Solent University is also providing flexibility around Piran's studies to accommodate this exciting chapter in his early career.

Piran says: "This is what I train for every day. Opportunities like these don't come around often and with Solent's backing, I get to go and have the biggest experience in my sporting journey to date. Without the University supporting me, I would be spending Christmas in the UK training the dark. Instead, thanks to the lecturers and staff who believe in me and my sport, I'm going to compete in one of the world's biggest ocean events.

"It's my ambition to finish in the top 10 at the world championships, but just being good enough to qualify, and represent Great Britain, is a brilliant feeling."

Piran is set to begin his journey at the Shaw and Partners WA Race Week - the world's most coveted ocean paddling event - before competing in the ICF Canoe Ocean Racing World Championships in Perth, beginning 30 November. 

To qualify for the championships, Piran took part in an intense summer of trials around the UK, finishing first in each of his category races. Competing in the Under 23 sections of the championships, Piran is one of just two young men who qualified to travel to Australia for the event. In between races, Piran will be training with some of the sport's top competitors, honing his skills and carving out a name for himself on the world stage.

Solent alumni Kelly Simm, who is supporting Piran and other elite athletes in the University's High-Performance Academy, says:

"It's important for young people to have guidance as they navigate big sporting events alongside their studies. As a graduate of Solent's High-performance Academy, I know first-hand how essential it is to have a resource like this that can nurture the talent of young athletes."

A second-year student excelling in sports journalism, Piran also has the support of his Course Leader, Will Cope:

"It's a pleasure teaching Piran as he really appreciates the hard work and dedication that it takes to succeed in the super competitive environments of both elite sport and sports journalism. He has direct lines of communication with the best people in the sport, and we're keen for him to maximise those contacts and become not only a great competitor but also a journalistic authority on competitive surf lifesaving. Piran has all the attributes to go to the very top and he is a credit both to himself and Solent's sports journalism course."