Sporting Blues Award recognition

The University of the Highlands and Islands and the Highlands and Islands’ Students Association (HISA) have recognised Ben Leitch, a Perth College UHI student, with a Sporting Blues Award.

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Ben Leitch

The ‘Sporting Blues’ Awards acknowledge the sporting excellence of the university’s students and alumni and is a joint initiative between the university and HISA. The ‘Honorary Blues’ are awarded to athletes connected with the University who have made outstanding contributions to Scottish, British or world sport.

Speaking about his award, Ben, 18, from Perth said: “I fell in love with wheelchair basketball after I had my left tibia removed due to a rare bone cancer. After I struggled to keep up with the other players in normal basketball, I was then introduced to this sport.

“Wheelchair basketball shares most of the rules with normal basketball, including the heights of the baskets and the court markings. I’m just away to begin my HND Fitness, Health and Exercise and am delighted to be recognised for my achievements within sport. I have been honoured to play for not only Scotland but for Great Britain. Throughout the past year, I have been able to represent various Clubs as different levels within the sport which has allowed me to have great team and individual success. I am currently working as a Tier 1 Academy Athlete with a goal being invoked in the 2024 Paralympic Games as well as the 2022 Commonwealth Games.”

HISA President, Florence Jansen, said: “It is incredibly rewarding to showcase exceptional sporting achievements like that of our 2020 winners and we hope their success inspires more students to participate in sports. HISA is proud to be able to celebrate our students who have excelled outwith their studies, and we are especially proud of the positive change our students’ commitments have brought to their development and future careers.”

Dr Iain Morrison, University of the Highlands and Islands Dean of Students, added: “These honours have been awarded to some truly exceptional people, who are somehow able to combine their studies and other commitments with elite-level performance and competition in their sporting discipline. We are proud of each one of them and hope that their success will inspire their fellow students to similar heights, as well as further establishing the University of the Highlands and Islands as a great place to study for those participating in sport.”