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Gabbi Howarth

Gabrielle (Gabbi) Howarth, who also did her Sport and Exercise Sciences undergraduate degree at Chester, is the Vice-Captain of the GB Women’s Handball Squad. The team recently returned to playing high level international sport following funding cuts after the 2012 Olympic Games. After just three days’ preparation, they took part in their first competition in two years - the EliteSport Cup in Balatonfüred, Hungary over the Easter weekend.

The squad played high league teams from Cyprus, Austria, Hungary and Ukraine, and won six of their seven games – meaning that they came away with a silver medal.

A full report of the games can be found on the British Handball website.

Gabbi’s Master’s is in Sports Physiology, looking specifically at the effect of morning-based priming exercise, on afternoon intermittent performance. This means that she is assessing what kind of pre conditioning strategies (eg ‘warm up’ exercises) in the morning, such as weight training, power circuits, or running, could best improve afternoon team sport performance.

Gabbi said: “It was great to return to international competitive sport for the first time in two years – and to be back with familiar squad faces, as well as new ones! Because I have played at international level before, I knew that the tournament was going to be tough. As a newly reformed team, we didn’t expect to come away with anything – so to achieve a silver was a great way to start a new era in women’s handball! Our next training camp is in July and we’re all really excited to see what the future holds for our GB team.”

Gabbi’s supervisor Craig Twist added: “This is not only a fantastic reward for all of Gabbi’s hard training, but provides her with some valuable practice-informed learning. I know that Gabbi’s experiences as an athlete have helped shape her research project, examining various pre-conditioning strategies for games players in tournament settings, the outcome of which will hopefully contribute to applied practice.”

Coach Paul Dempsey said: “We are really pleased with the players’ performance in this first competition together and see plenty of good things to build on. I would also like to thank kinesiologist Ray Thompson, who had a busy time, but kept the players going through the gruelling schedule.”

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