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University's champion triathlete to compete against world elite at invite-only race in Beijing

A champion triathlete will race with the world’s best after being chosen for an invite-only race in China.

Matt Nelson, 26, a third-year Sports Rehabilitation student will race against Olympic champions, including the Brownlee brothers.

Matt is the current British National Champion and British University Champion for his form of triathlon, known as non-drafting.

Triathletes must complete a 1500m open water swim, 40km bike ride and 10km run.

The non-drafting race means during the cycling stint, riders must stay a certain length behind the rider in front as opposed to the draft legal type of triathlon you see in the Olympics.

Up until the age of 19, Matt was an elite swimmer, but having missed out on a place in the 2012 London Olympics, he decided he wanted a change.

“I ran as a youngster, but had never ridden a road bike, so I thought if I could learn to do that, then I could try my hand at triathlons.”

Matt is part of the University of Hull’s Talented Athlete Programme. The programme is funded by Alumni and offers sport scholarships for students who compete at elite level in their sport. The programme offers a range of support options; financial support, gym membership, strength & conditioning training, rehabilitation, yoga, flexibility & mindfulness, personal development mentoring and nutrition advice.

This year the University will have 19 students on TAP. All from a broad range of sports such as squash, athletics and equestrian.

In 2012, he took part in his first triathlon at Rother Valley. He progressed quickly in the sport becoming a British elite triathlete two years later before cracking the European scene and becoming part of the GB European Team.

During the off-season, Matt will train up to six hours per day ensuring he gets six training sessions of each discipline in per week, as well as three gym sessions. 

“In racing season, the volume is much less, but what I do is far more intense. In winter, when I’m not racing, the days are really long. With travelling, I can be training up to nine hours per day when you include travel and I have to fit uni in around that." Matt Nelson, Sports Rehabilitation student 

“I try to fit training in around lectures, so if I have a spare hour I might do a session in the gym or go for a run or cycle,” he said.  “The university has been brilliant. I thought with my training schedule it might be a bit of a problem, which is one reason I delayed going to university. But it hasn’t. I can be away up to 18 weeks a year racing and the University has made sure I am able to both complete my studies and compete. It’s been really great.”

Oliver Wheatley: Sports Experience Coordinator (Excellence) said: “Matt is one of an amazing group of students we have on our Talented Athlete Programme this year. “He is an exceptional athlete, I’m proud to support him. He works so hard, it’s great that he has been given this opportunity to race amongst the world’s best.”

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