Welcome to the latest edition of our Scholars Q&A! In this weekly feature, we speak to a selection of our Team Surrey scholars to hear about their experiences and achievements within university sport and beyond.
Ben Whitfield from Team Surrey Taekwondo has just completed his degree at the university and is at the end of his stint as Taekwondo vice-president. In his Q&A, he tells us all about what comes next for him, what he’s enjoyed about the university and why the last competition he competed in was also his Surrey highlight.
How have things been going with you recently?
“I’m currently living on the university campus and have just finished my exams. With this I have also finished my MPhys Physics with Nuclear Astrophysics degree! Apart from this, it has been great to slowly get back into being more active with sports sessions starting up again and being able to enjoy the lovely weather we have been having the past week or two.”
When and where did your Taekwondo career begin?
“My Taekwondo career began when I was just 6 years old, with sessions taking place in a hall in Sutton where I live as my parents wanted me to do a martial art so that I had some self-defence knowledge.”
What are your aims in sport moving forward?
“Now that I have finished with my degree, I plan to focus more heavily on my Taekwondo sparring now that I will have more time to dedicate to it. Hopefully, I will be able to continue improving as I did during my time at Surrey, with my aim over the next few years to get recruited into the Team GB Taekwondo World Class Programme.”
How has the university supported you and your sporting endeavours?
“The University has strongly supported my Taekwondo endeavours via the Sports Scholarship Programme. As a Scholar I had access to an S&C coach, gym membership, nutritionist, and funding to subsidise the costs of any competitions I attended. The programme has been great for me as before I joined, I had never really been surrounded by other high-level athletes and a team dedicated to furthering my sporting progress.”
What would you say to prospective students considering Surrey?
“I think that Surrey is a great University that gives a great blend of study and social life. It also boasts a wide variety of societies and sports clubs so you will be sure to find something you enjoy and meet loads of amazing new people. Additionally, the campus is also lovely, with lots of green spaces and a lake to relax by during the semester.”
What has been the highlight of your time at Surrey?
“I would say the highlight for me would be winning a silver medal at the BUCS Taekwondo Autumn Championships, the last competition I was able to participate in before the pandemic.”
Sporting role model? “Lee Dae-Hoon.”
Favourite meal? “A home cooked Sunday roast.”
Favourite lockdown workout? “5km Run.”
Favourite song for exercising/training? “I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor.”
Best thing about Surrey? “The wide range of facilities and sports offered as the Surrey Sports Park, allowing everyone at Surrey to stay active, whether socially or at the highest level.”