Marc Austin completed his university maths exams then changed into his tri-suit and collected a brace of medals at the European Junior Triathlon Championships in Turkey.
The University of Stirling student, who finished his second year exams two weeks ago, collected the bronze in the individual race on Saturday then mustered up the energy to help Great Britain to victory in the mixed relay on the Sunday.
It was Austin’s second relay gold at this level and capped a wonderful weekend for the 19-year-old from Scotstoun, who will make the step up to the senior grade in time to push for selection at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
“It was really good”, said Austin, understating the immense achievement over two days. “I wanted to win gold in the individual race, but I can be proud to have come back with a medal. You don’t tend to think too much about the relay as all the pressure is on the individual event, but to win the gold was great for the team.
“I wasn’t in a good way after the Saturday race as I’d put so much into it, but by the time the relay came round, the whole team is so up for it that it made me up for it too. We were in a good position by the time it was my leg so I just had to finish it off.”
Austin, who trains with the Scottish squad at the national triathlon performance centre on the University campus, started his season early and in some style, collecting a bronze medal at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival (AYOF) in January before returning to his maths studies.
He added: “I”ve always been big into numbers and triathlon is all about numbers with split times, how far behind the opponent is and what distance to go. Stirling is a great place to study and train and I”m looking forward to my third year.”
Also in Alanya, fellow Stirling student Grant Sheldon exercised some personal demons with a strong display to finish sixth. It was third time lucky at the European Championships for the 18-year-old from Hamilton, having crashed out in the 2011 race then, after qualifying last year, he broke a thumb 10 days before the 2012 event.
Scotland Assistant Triathlon Coach, Blair Cartmell, who was there with the Great Britain team, said: “I’m over the moon. It is a fantastic outcome to have two Scots in the top ten at a major championship and for Marc to return home with two medals. I have to give special praise to Grant as five weeks ago it didn’t seem likely Grant would be able to compete.”
Austin and Sheldon are two of more than 150 talented athletes across 32 Scottish colleges and universities currently receiving funding support and academic flexibility from the Winning Students scholarship programme. The programme is run by the University of Stirling as Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence and funded by the Scottish Funding Council.
You can follow Marc on Twitter @marcja94
Photo Credit: Rob Eyton-Jones