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Last week Lancaster University Athletics Club held their Opening Ceremony, which included the appointment of a new Executive Committee and a motivational speech from paralympian Matt Dimbylow.
The evening began with the fulfilment of the available positions of four respective captains, two Social Secretaries, a Safety and Equipment Officer and a Webmaster.
The four respective captains were categorised into Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced and an overall Team Captain. The latter two roles were hotly contested amongst three candidates; Alexandra Aslaksen, Alan Littler and Annie Barsoum, who each had plenty of experience in the field.
Aslaksen was close to turning semi-professional a few years ago, Littler has been involved in athletics from a young age and Barsoum has been in England trials and her eyes are set on London 2012.
Following the voting process, Alexandra Aslaksen was appointed Advanced Captain, Annie Barsoum was appointed the overall Team Captain. Alan Littler was nevertheless promised involvement in some other way.
Martin Burn, the President of the club, stated: “I’m not sure how [Littler] can be involved yet, but I did speak briefly to him about being a coach for us.”
The Intermediate Captain position was filled by Karina Bjørnarøy and Tom Kiernan was assigned the role of Beginner Captain. Chris Jagger was voted in as the new Webmaster, Katie Vandewalle is the new Safety and Equipment Officer and Harriet Trevor-Allen and Calum Saunders obtained the votes for the two Social Secretary positions.
These new members join the founding members Martin Burn, Olivia Cain, Charly Harrison and Leanne Little.
Following the vote came the arrival of Matt Dimbylow, a Paralympian who plays for the GB Paralympic seven-a-side football team. He is also the Ambassador at ‘Dream It, Believe It, Achieve It’, the focus of his motivational speech.
In 2003, Dimbylow suffered a head injury and it was not until 2007 that he was diagnosed with Extra Pyramidal Syndrome in which 10 years of quality life were given.
By chance, Dimbylow made it onto the team to compete at Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, despite the team appointments already closing. He simply stated: “Rules are always there to be broken”.
It was at the 2008 Games that Dimbylow broke the Olympic record for the fastest goal to be scored, as he kicked it through the posts in 24 seconds.
Dimbylow used his experiences to inform the crowd that anything is possible if one puts the hard work and effort into it, regardless of what stands in the way.
After the ceremony Burn commented: “The evening went really well. Turnout was good for a new society and Matt Dimbylow’s speech was fantastic. It was a night that showed that we have potential as a club, and I firmly believe that with the right start we can change the perception of many students about Lancaster University not being for athletes.”