Athletics talent on track for dual career in design

Maya Bruney
Maya Bruney competes at the 2017 British Indoor Championships (Credit: British Athletics)

Sprint specialist Maya Bruney is on top form following a rapid rise through the ranks, culminating in taking 200m gold at the European U20 Championships in Italy last summer.

Having collected a whole hoard of commendations in 2017, including European Athletics Rising Star Nominee and England Athletics U20 Performance Athlete of the Year, the 20-year-old is now focusing on furthering her experience of international competition.

And despite the pressure to succeed at senior level, the TASS athlete has remained level-headed, with university study providing a welcome distraction from the demands of high performance sport.

In addition to an athletic career, Bruney has designs on a future vocation in fashion, with ambitions to one day establish her own company and collaborate with global sports brands such as PUMA.

“Design is a huge passion of mine,” she explained. “I do bespoke fashion pieces and I’m currently designing a coat for a music artist – it’ll be released soon.”

Undergraduate Bruney is pursuing a degree in Graphic Design at University of East London (UEL) – which doubles as her TASS Delivery Site – having previously enjoyed studying the subject at the BRIT School.

“I think it’s like learning another language. From toilet signs to road markings, design is everywhere. Graphics has given me a deeper understanding of what design is and can be.”

And now she’s making a name for herself in the fashion world having impressed the senior management at heritage publishing house, Penguin Books, with a bespoke creation.

“My class was given a project to ‘send a message to a designer of your own choice’ and whilst many people would write an email, we’re designers so I think emails are boring.

“I chose Penguin Books art director and designer Jim Stoddart and decided to make him a classic book coat. The coat was based on the book The Rainbow, by D.H. Lawrence because there’s a blue plaque opposite my house to show where the author used to live.

“It was a success and I managed to meet the Penguin Books brand director!”

Maya Bruney at Penguin
Maya Bruney models her creation for Penguin Books (Credit: Maya Bruney)

Meanwhile on the athletics track, Bruney becomes a senior athlete joining Dina Asher-Smith, Perri Shakes-Drayton and Emily Diamond, who have all received support from TASS in their careers.

“The strength and conditioning support is really beneficial to my performance,” she explains. “My TASS S&C coach, Duncan Ogilvie, has an intense and individualised programme for me.”

“We measure my speed and force using Push Technology – it’s a great way of keeping track of my progression. I also have lifestyle sessions with Elizabeth, as my weeks can be so busy and overwhelming it’s nice to be able to sit down and chat with her.”

Tipped as a future Olympian, the Croydon-based runner is also benefiting from being part of the 2018 British Athletics Futures Academy, which aims to develop athletes who have the potential to step up to the World Class Programme.

“Achieving a hat-trick of medals at the European Junior Championships last year was a dream come true,” she admits. “I always go out to win but to come away a massive PB and Junior 200m European Leading time made all my training worth it.”

Dual career athlete Bruney’s next competition comes in April as she sets her sights on success in the three sprint distances at the BUCS Outdoor Championships.

“I’ll be opening up at BUCS, but I’ll be deciding which event closer to the time! I’m best over the 200m, but I really like the tactical element of the 400m. I’m excited to see how UEL will do as last year we came away with lots of gold medals.”

“After that, my coaches and agent will see what competitions I should target. My main goal is to stay healthy and gain experience competing abroad and in senior championships.”

“TASS has been good support for me and I’m looking forward to the season ahead,” she said. “It’s great to see the Scheme acknowledging that we can be more than just athletes.”