News | Monday, 20th July 2009

Paralympic Champions honoured

Athletics duo Sarah and Barney Storey awarded degrees

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A WIFE-and-husband athletics duo are have been honoured by Manchester Metropolitan University.

Known as the ‘golden couple of British disability sport’, Sarah and Barney Storey each won gold medals in Beijing in cycling to add to Sarah’s golds in swimming.

The unusual occurrence of two golds for the same family in different events on the same day happened when Sarah set a world record in the individual pursuit and Barney emulated her success as pilot to blind rider Anthony Kappes in the tandem sprint.

Now their achievements have been recognised by Manchester Metropolitan University - one of the leading centres for disability sport research in the UK – which awarded the couple honorary degrees.

Role models

The couple each received the title Honorary Doctorate in Science at Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall on Saturday, July 18 at the graduation ceremony for MMU’s Cheshire Faculty.

Dennis Dunn, Dean of Faculty, said: ‘Sarah and Barney Storey are role models not only for young people with disabilities but for all of us. Paralympic Champions, involved in charitable work that will help others, and true sporting ambassadors; together they form part of the strongest national squad in world cycling.’

Sarah Storey won her first gold medal as a swimmer at the 1992 Paralympic Games in Barcelona and went on to appear win five golds and eight silvers in four Games, switching sports in Beijing to join Barney in the velodrome. Sarah is also Great Britain’s first ever Paralympian to win the title at a Senior able-bodied National Championship event.

Barney is a double gold medallist in the same events at the 2006 and 2007 World Disability Championships and also coaches many of the elite disability riders.

Charity work

Apart from their contribution to the British team, the couple are also honoured for their support and encouragement to others through Barney’s patronage of charity SeeAblility and his valued support as an advocate of MMU Cheshire – home to the university’s Exercise and Sport Science Department.

Sarah, a regular coach at MMU Cheshire with the North West Disability Swim Squad, said: ‘It’s a great honour to be involved with sport science research at Alsager. It is a fantastic group of people, a wonderful environment for athletes and a great asset to sport in the region.’

Barney and Sarah, from Disley in Cheshire, have received the MBE and OBE respectively for services to disabled sport.

Find out more about Exercise and Sport Science at MMU.

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