Second graduate wins dissertation award

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FOR the second year running, a University of Portsmouth sports science graduate has won a national award for a dissertation.

Thomas O'Leary, who graduated in July with a BSc in sports exercise science, won the award this year for his research on the effect of caffeine on a 2,000-metre rowing performance.

Last year Helen Barrett won the same award for her research on the impact of a sports team's body language.

The winner is selected by the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES), the professional body for sport and exercise sciences in the UK, and is given annually for outstanding undergraduate dissertations.

Thomas said: 'It is widely known that caffeine has performance enhancing effects so my study needed to be novel in order to add to current knowledge.

'My team and I discovered you can have caffeine as little as 10 minutes before exercise for it to boost performance. It had previously been thought it needed to be consumed an hour before.

'This is an important finding because regular gym-goers who want to improve endurance levels can arrive at the gym, have a coffee and then hit the rower or the treadmill knowing that in the time it has taken them to get changed the caffeine will already be having a significant effect on their body.'

He will receive 250 towards presenting his research at the BASES student conference.