Winning Students


Edinburgh high jumper Smith has “that feeling back” for World University Games

24 August 2017
Edinburgh College graduate, Allan Smith, hopes his form will continue as he prepares to compete in the final of the men's high jump at the World University Summer Games in Chinese Taipei

Edinburgh College graduate, Allan Smith, hopes his form will continue as he prepares to compete in the final of the men's high jump at the World University Summer Games in Chinese Taipei

Edinburgh athlete Allan Smith explained he has a good feeling as he gets set to compete in the men’s high jump final at the World University Summer Games in Chinese Taipei this week.

Earlier this season Smith took eighth place in the European Indoor Championships but has not yet managed to replicate the same form outdoors.

“I was pretty pleased with the indoors,” said Smith, who is excited about being part of the 20-strong GB team in Taipei. “I didn’t PB, although I was very close and should have.

“Outdoors has been a bit a bit of a mixed bag of results.  Last week’s Manchester International was a disappointing end result.  It was a horrendous headwind and everyone in the competition just had an absolute disaster.

“So it was one of those days but a positive I took from it was that my run in felt like it had indoors which allowed me to jump high.  So it’s good that I’m having that feeling back again which has not really been there through the outdoor season.

“So if I can replicate that again I should do well come the final.”

Twenty four-year-old Smith graduated from Edinburgh College this summer with an HND in Fitness, Health and Exercise.  His studies resume this autumn with a Sport Science degree at Edinburgh Napier University.

He admits combining full time study with international competition can be a tall order, but it works for him and obviously for other leading athletes competing at the world’s second largest multi-sport event in Taipei.

“A lot of athletes do combine sport and study,” explained Smith who is expecting a “high calibre” final in Taipei after qualifying joint top of his group with a height of 2.15m.

“People don’t always realise when you are on a full time programme you can be studying all day then you go straight to the track.  After that, you come home immediately and then get back onto the computer for study.

“So, you get up at eight o’clock and you don’t stop moving until 12 o’clock at night.

“But I realise high jump won’t last forever and I’ve got a plan for what I want to get qualifications wise.  University and getting my degree is a huge chunk of that and I’ll progress from there.”

Smith is one of 150 students supported by Winning Students, Scotland’s national sports scholarships programme for student athletes.  Through it he receives funding support and the academic flexibility required to perform at the highest level in sport and studies.

Eighteen Scottish universities and 25 colleges form the Winning Students network with the programme being funded by the Scottish Funding Council. Students at network colleges and universities benefit from a dedicated coordinator to ensure they can balance their studies and sport effectively.

“The staff are really helpful and already aware you are participating in sport.  Having Winning Students on board does confirm that you are of a higher calibre and you need time off,” said Smith.

“The financial side from Winning Students does help out because most the year you have zero time so there is no opportunity to work as well.”

The World University Games is unlikely to be Smith’s only multisport event in the coming months.  Team Scotland will announce its athletics team for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games on 6 November, already a diary date for Smith for a very different reason.

“Funnily enough the team gets selected on my birthday,” he added. “The standard for myself is two metres 21 and I think I’ve been over that eight or nine times already.  So I’ve done more than enough to hopefully secure my place.”