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Welcome to the first edition of our Scholars Q&A! In this new weekly feature, we’ll be speaking to a selection of our Team Surrey scholars to hear about their experiences and achievements within university sport.

First up, we’re hearing from cyclist and final-year student Josh Copley.


How have things been going with you recently? 

“I’m currently at based out of my Uni house as a final year student. Studying economics and Finance.

“I’m looking to build into the time trialling race season. I’ve been extremely fortunate that TTs (Individual races against the clock) have been able to still go ahead. Last year I was ranked 8th in the country at the end of the season, and I want to see how well I can do again this year.”


When and where did your cycling career begin?

“My Cycling career started down at the Hillingdon cycle circuit in Minet Park. I signed on to the local youth club and went from there.

“At first all I could do was ride around the local cycling circuit or round the block. I’m coming up to my ninth year of cycling, but I’ve only been competing seriously for the last five years.”


What are your aims in the sport moving forward?

“I’ve got my eye on a few key events this year but I simply want to see how fast I can ride a bike over 10 or 25 miles.

“For 10 miles my PB is 18:57 and an average speed of 31.7mph. I know I’ve still got some more pace and speed to come with the right training.”

How has the university supported you and your sporting endeavours?

“I’ve been lucky enough to supported on the scholarship programme for the last 3 years using everything available to me; Strength and Conditioning coaching, Nutritionist, Physio, and Psychologist.

“I personally found the one-on-one support that the programme leader was able to give me as massive. In 2019, I underwent 4 rounds of heart surgery and had to play with the idea of walking away from sport altogether.

“Without the help of Kristin Browne getting me into hockey and our talks, I can only imagine where my mental health would be. Neil Sweeney has also shown me he has similar qualities helping get things confirmed or sorted allowing athletes to focus in training.”


What would you say to prospective students considering Surrey?

“Come and see it for yourself. I made my mind up when I turned up in a rainy day and still liked the feeling of the university.

“Not every university will give you the same feeling and it’s good to see them at their worst. After all, no university looks like the brochure photos. I think Surrey is great and I’ve enjoyed my time here.”


What has been the highlight of your time at Surrey?

“At the end of 2019. I had had a dreadful year. I was able to win my last road race of the year. My first ever road race win.

“The next day was hockey training; it’s a different sport and they didn’t need to mention anything. Six or Seven people came over to congratulate me. It really showed that they cared. It was nice.”


Quick-fire Questions

Sporting role model? “Tony Martin.”

Favourite meal?Stir-fry salmon noodles.”

Favourite lockdown workout?Threshold pulling pyramid, 4mins, 2x3mins, 3x2mins, 4x1mins. Rest is the same length as the interval session. Intensity is about what could be held for 10 mins if done in one go. It’s fun and enjoyable.”

Favourite song for exercising/training?X Gon’ Give It To Ya by DMX.”

Best thing about Surrey?The Surrey Hills.”