Birmingham Graduate Gains Commonwealth Gold

A former geology student from the University of Birmingham is riding high today after clinching a Commonwealth Games gold medal in the Velodrome for track cycling.

Paul Manning took gold in the men’s individual 4-kilometre pursuit, being joined on the podium by fellow England team members Rob Hayles and Steve Cummings, in an England clean sweep of the medals. Manning won the event in a time of 4:23.799.

Manning, aged 31, who graduated from the University of Birmingham in 1996 with a BSc in Earth Sciences, adds this gold to his already impressive haul of medals from previous championships, including a silver in the Team Pursuit event at the Athens Olympics, a bronze at the 2000 Olympics and silver at the 2002 Commonwealth Games.

Manning is joined at the Commonwealth Games by three current and two former University of Birmingham students, who are hoping to emulate Paul’s success on day one.

Fellow cyclist Rachel Heal, who graduated in 1995 with a masters degree in Chemical Engineering, takes part in the women’s road race.

20 year-old Sport and Materials science student Luke Gunn represents England in the 3000m steeplechase event.

Current commerce student Simon Mantell and former history and sport student Helen Grant represent England in the hockey. Helen Grant gained a silver medal at the last Commonwealth Games in Manchester in 2002.

20 year-old Sport and Exercise Sciences student Elena Johnson represents Guernsey in the badminton singles and mixed doubles events. This is Elena's second visit to the Commonwealth Games, after being the youngest competitor at the age of 16 to perform in the 2002 Games.

University staff and students are following the athletes progress with interest.

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

Other University of Birmingham current and former students taking part in the Commonwealth Games (all representing England, unless otherwise stated):

Rachel Heal – road cycling

Takes part in women’s road race. Graduated in 1995 with a masters degree in Chemical Engineering. Rachel, aged 33, won the National Women’s Road Race in 2000 then went on to secure a bronze medal in the road race at the 2002 Commonwealth Games. Has represented Great Britain at international races since 2001, member of Team GB in Athens in 2004.

Luke Gunn – 3000m steeplechase

20 year-old Sport and Materials science student. Member of the bronze medal-winning team at the 2004 European Junior Cross Country Championships, where he was the first Brit across the line at the event. Current BUSA 3000m steeplechase champion and Northern Junior Cross Country champion 2005.

Simon Mantell - hockey

Current commerce student. Former England under 21 captain, has four caps for England seniors and has already scored 5 goals so far.

Helen Grant – hockey

Graduated in 2000 with a BA in History and Sport and Recreational Studies. Has already won a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games in 2002.

Elena Johnson – badminton, representing Guernsey

20-year old current Sport and Exercise Sciences student. Elena's second visit to the Commonwealth Games, after being the youngest competitor at the age of 16 to perform in the 2002 games at Manchester. Elena is current BUSA doubles champion with team mate Kelly Mead.

The Commonwealth Games takes place from 15-26 March in Melbourne, Australia.

Further information:

Rachel Robson – Head of News Team, University of Birmingham

Tel: 0121 414 6681

email: r.a.robson@bham.ac.uk

mob: 07789 921165