News and events News Congratulations - Lauren Kianchehr! Lauren Kianchehr – interim Academy lead at Gladiators has been awarded The Scholarship Official of the Year Award from the University of Gloucestershire. We caught up with Lauren to find out her thoughts and feelings on her wonderful achievement. What does it mean to you to be recognised in this way? There are a great group of referees on the scholarship, so to be recognised in this way and finish my three years at university with this award means an awful lot to me. It is always nice to get the sport recognised too! How/ when did you find out? I found out on the evening of the 20th of May. The University sports awards were being live-streamed on social media and I did not tune in as I was on a video call with my family! The scholarship official of the year award was only introduced this year so when I started receiving messages of congratulations from friends, I didn’t know what I was being congratulated for until I watched a video that my friend sent me of the award being announced! How has the university supported you on your journey? Over the last three years, I have received a huge amount of support from all the scholarship staff, my personal tutor and lecturers. When I was accepted onto the scholarship none of the referees knew what boccia was, let alone what challenges I faced/support I needed as a referee from the sport. I received a bursary which has helped me to cover some of my expenses; received support and guidance from professional referees and experts; and been supported when my sporting commitments and my academic commitments have clashed. I have also had support from an S&C coach, nutritionist, sports psychologist and performance lifestyle advisor since being part of the scholarship which has made the world of difference both on and off-court. Without this support from the past and present staff and scholars there is no way that I would have been able to referee (and coach) as often as I do, at the levels I do AND complete my degree to the best of my ability (nearly there now).