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George Osborne Invites Swansea University Sports Scientist to Downing Street


The Swansea University researcher who leads the group responsible for preparing a team for a gruelling hike across the Greenland ice cap to raise money for Help for Heroes has been invited to Downing Street by the Chancellor, George Osborne.

Professor Liam Kilduff, of the Applied Sports, Technology, Exercise and Medicine (A-STEM) research group within the College of Engineering at Swansea University who specialises in understanding and enhancing elite and professional sports performance, is a patron of the 65 Degrees North scheme, and one of the sports scientists who prepared the team, which included an amputee from the recent conflict in Afghanistan (Peter Bowker), to undertake the marathon journey in May this year.

The Chancellor was so impressed with the endeavour he pledged £100K from the Libor fund to support it, and rallied the team on day 11 of their mission by phoning them in Greenland to see how they were getting on.

The successful attempt resulted in Peter Bowker setting a new world record, becoming the World's First Amputee to Cross the Greenland Ice Cap.

Peter Bowker and the 65 Degrees North Team, together with Professor Kilduff will attend Downing Street on 2 September, allowing for Peter and the Ice Team to discuss their experiences and the challenges they faced on the expedition and for the team to thank the Chancellor personally for his support and contribution to the project.

Professor Kilduff said: “Pete Bowker was one of a team of five that completed the unsupported Greenland crossing on skis, pulling pulks weighing up to 300lbs containing their food, clothing and survival equipment.

“During the trek, the team faced a constant battle against distance and fatigue, temperatures as low as -37°c and deep crevasses, not to mention the resident polar bears.

“Our role at A-STEM was to ensure the team were in top condition for the expedition, offering support with physical and mental fitness, nutritional care and sleep pattern monitoring.”

Dr Kelly MacKintosh, Dr Melitta McNarry, Dr Steve Mellalieu and Dr Tom Love from A-STEM also contributed significantly to the preparation of the team.

Professor Kilduff said: “Making sure our research has an impact on real-life problems is a priority for us, and our work with 65 Degrees North is testament to that.”