Fin Toner is a sports scholar at the University of Leeds where he is a 4th year Masters student studying MSc Business Analytics & Decision Science. He currently plays wheelchair basketball and has started rowing this year for the university’s sports teams. We had the opportunity to speak with Fin about his sporting achievements, how sport is part of his university experience and how the scholarship programme has supported his career.

What has your sporting career looked like thus far?

I have been playing wheelchair basketball since the age of 8. In the last 14 years I have been named UK Young Male Player of the Year. I have represented the GB U23’s and in 2022 I made my senior international debut for Scotland.

Having graduated from Leeds in 2021 I moved to France to play professionally where we won the treble. However at the end of the season I decided to move back to England to  pursue an MSc.

Fin Toner deadlift

How has the university supported your sporting career?

Having also completed my undergraduate degree at the university of Leeds, the team have been an integral part of my development. At the start of the Covid-19 lockdown I was given ‘elite athlete’ status. This allowed me to use the edge everyday with access to both a basketball court and Tim and Emily’s S&C expertise to keep me as close to 100% as possible. For me, this work access and support provided by Sarah, Tim and Emily was key in me securing a professional contract in France.

This year they are once again helping me to prepare for big events – but now across 2 sports. I have a European tournament coming up at the start of February and with the support of the physios, lifestyle coaches and S&C coaches I am confident I will be able to turn up in the best shape possible whilst minimising the negative impact on my university studies. Something that would not be possible otherwise.

What’s it like to be a Gryphon?

Being a Gryphon makes you a part of a very diverse team. I regularly interact with athletes from different sports across different years of study. This gives me the opportunity to learn not only about different sports but also how they train and how this could potentially benefit my own training. They are all friendly and it is nice to see recognisable faces across campus.

What does the future hold for Fin?

Fin Toner warming up

I don’t know is the honest answer. I have been selected to be part of the GB para-rowing pathway. I’m excited to see where that may take me before the end of this academic year.

Basketball is also an option, I have offers to go back to Europe next season. However I am currently just concentrating on this team and this season. We have an amazing opportunity to win the Premier Division – the highest division in the UK.

I am excited for the future and am confident that the team will have me in the best place possible to follow whichever path I choose. All that I know for sure is it will definitely involve sport.


Find out more about our scholarship programme