With her University of Otago physiotherapy studies behind
her, award-winning cyclist Sequoia Cooper is keen to seek
further international cycling success next year. Photo by
New Zealand women's elite cycling squad member Sequoia
Cooper will have at least two good reasons to celebrate when
she graduates from the University of Otago today.
By gaining her bachelor of physiotherapy degree, Miss Cooper
(22) is not only completing four years of demanding study at
the university but has also just been awarded the Otago
School of Physiotherapy's prestigious Athletic Shield.
''I'm just so super-excited. It's just so cool to have this
kind of event to end your studies,'' she said.
She will be one of more than 270 graduands graduating in
person, mainly in dentistry and physiotherapy, in a ceremony
at the Regent Theatre, Dunedin, at 4pm today.
About 260 other Otago graduands, mainly in medicine and
medical laboratory science, will graduate in person at an
earlier ceremony, at 1pm. The Athletic Shield is awarded to
the final year physiotherapy student ''who has demonstrated
outstanding sporting achievement and academic excellence''.
Gaining the Athletic Shield, and her bronze medal at the
Oceania track cycling championships in Adelaide last weekend
were ''just so motivating''.
Tasting ''a bit of success'' in this way was encouraging her
to try for more.
She is an endurance rider who has been a member of the New
Zealand women's elite cycling squad for the past three years.
And she has already enjoyed considerable cycling success at
national and international levels.
A former silver medallist as a New Zealand junior, she
finished third in the omnium at Adelaide.
Miss Cooper, who hails from Invercargill, had found it ''a
bit of a battle'' fitting together her extensive academic
study requirements- including final year internships in
Dunedin and Invercargill-and her desire to train and compete
as a cyclist, nationally and internationally.
The support of her fellow physiotherapy students had played a
crucial role in her success, and some were already