Hannah Pearce playing hockey

GB Sevens and South Africa Hockey selections for Olympics

PATHWAY TO PARIS – Current University of Birmingham EDCAP scholar Hannah Pearce and alumna Heather Cowell have both been selected by their countries to represent their sport at the upcoming Paris Olympics 2024.

Hannah will represent South Africa following selection for the Women’s Team in what will be her debut Olympics, having competed in the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham back in 2022.

Credit @hannah_pearce02

Her selection holds even more weight as she battled to recover from a recent ACL injury that hampered not just her selection, but her playing career.


Part of the University’s Elite Dual Career Athlete Pathway, Hannah is studying for a MA Inclusion (Social, Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties).


As well as on EDCAP scholarship, Hannah joined UoB on a Commonwealth Games Scholarship which supported her financially towards her tuition fees.


CWG scholarship was aimed at elite athletes from Commonwealth countries alongside the Games legacy of Birmingham 2022.


Following her injury, she received intensive interdisciplinary support to accelerate her rehabilitation and get her back to playing with the national squad, being based back in SA primarily since new year.


Part of EDCAP combines a holistic approach to supporting dual career student-athletes. Not only through S&C/physio supporting rehab, but input from nutritionists, psychologists, physiologist and performance lifestyle advisor.

Alumna Heather Cowell has been named in the GB Women’s Rugby Sevens Squad. Heather joined Birmingham as part of the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS) and was also a gymnast before committing to rugby.

Cowell actually performed gymnastics at the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, competing at an international level until the age of 20.

Her rugby career has seen her play for Worcester Warriors and Harlequins, but it is on the international stage where she has continued to perform.

Selection for the 2022 Commonwealth Games was followed up with taking part in the Rugby World Cup Sevens in South Africa, before a successful 2023 European Games confirmed GB’s qualification for Paris.

Heather Cowell scoring try
Credit @hevcowell