Gold Medallists Team England celebrate during the Women's Hockey Medal Ceremony on day ten of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games at University of Birmingham Hockey & Squash CentreCategoriesStudent News

Past and Present UoB Stars Selected for Birmingham 2022

Twelve commonwealth medals for the University of birmingham

In Alumna and students from the University of Birmingham become sporting heroes in the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games – securing a total of 12 medals.

Current student Lily Walker and five alumni – Hannah Martin, Holly Hunt, Anna Toman, Lily Owsley and Flora Peel – were part of the gold-winning Team England women’s side which beat Australia to claim Commonwealth Games victory for the first time.


The University of Birmingham Hockey Centre provided an iconic backdrop for their Games victory and all six players had previously played on those same pitches representing the University in British Universities and Colleges Sport and national league hockey.

The University’s game-changing hockey reputation also helped gain medals for Team England’s men’s squad with the return of 2013 graduate, Nick Bandurak. Narrowly missing out on a place in the final after losing 3-2 to Australia, they went onto beat South Africa 6 – 3 to secure the bronze medal with Nick as Team England’s top scorer in the competition.

Hockey alumni Hywel Jones and Dewi Roblin also competed for their home nation, Team Wales, who secured their highest ever Commonwealth Games finish in sixth. The squad beat Ghana 6-1, only to be beaten by finalists India in the next round.

Team Wales’ women’s squad also featured alumni Holly Munro and Xenna Hughes to secure an eighth place finish. Current Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences student, Amy Costello, finished in sixth place in the women’s hockey event as part of Team Scotland.

University of Birmingham students also won medals in the Judo competition. Current Business student and Sport Scholar, Lachlan Moorhead, fought off some tough competition to win University of Birmingham’s first ever Commonwealth gold medal for Team England.


Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences student Rhys Thompson won a bronze medal for Team England in the -100kg category in his first Commonwealth Games.

Judokas Lauren Semple and Yasmin Javadian represented Jamaica and Northern Ireland respectively. Lauren reached the -63kg bronze medal match, just losing out on a medal, but sport scholar Yasmin scooped bronze in the -52kg category for Northern Ireland.

Cyclist Anna Henderson is a current Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences student and won silver in the Women’s Individual Time Trial before an exceptional performance in Women’s Road Race later in the week.

ITU World Triathlon Champion in 2013, Non Stanford secured the silver medal for Team Wales in the Mixed Triathlon and also competed in the Women’s Triathlon event, placing sixth.

In addition to the 12 medallists, there were University of Birmingham students and alumni across multiple competitions at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. MSc Economics alumna, Gemma Atherley, made history for Team Jersey by becoming the first swimmer to make a Commonwealth Games final in the 200-metre backstroke. Gemma raced exceptionally well and finished in eighth place.

Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences student and high jump athlete Laura Zialor reached the final – finishing in eighth place for Team England at her first Commonwealth Games and second-ever major championship.

Alumnus Imran Rahman, was selected to represent Bangladesh in the 100-metre sprint and Biomedical Science alumna, Hannah Leighton, took to the Netball courts for Team Scotland. Their classification match against Northern Ireland ended in their 43-33 victory, placing them ninth overall.


Alumna Heather Cowell opened the Rugby 7s competition at Birmingham 2022 with Team England with a resounding 57-0 win over Sri-Lanka. The team finished in fifth place overall.  

Current physics student, Muqtadir Nimji took part in the squash competition with Team Kenya and reached the semi-final of the Men’s Singles Plate competition.

University of Birmingham Director of Sport Andy Allford commented: “Congratulations to all our students and alumni on their sporting success at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. Everyone at the University of Birmingham is exceptionally proud of what our campus, staff and athletes achieved during this game-changing summer of sport.”

CategoriesStudent News

Past and Present UoB Stars Selected for Birmingham 2022

With the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games just around the corner, it is safe to say excitement is building here at the University of Birmingham as we prepare to welcome athletes, coaches and spectators from all around the Commonwealth.

The University of Birmingham is the official host venue for hockey and squash, as well as hosting the largest athletes’ village and training venue for both swimming and athletics; being the official catering provider for athletes, spectators, Games family and workforce; providing accommodation for technical officials and sponsor workforce; and hosting multiple conferences and events across campus venues.

In addition to the above, we are delighted to share that a huge number of staff, students and alumni have been selected to represent their home nations in the Games.

Birmingham 2022 will showcase the very best talent from across the Commonwealth countries, which is why we are thrilled for the students who we have witnessed go from strength to strength this year earn this all-important selection. This includes dentistry student and European under-23 bronze medalist, Yasmin Javadian, who will be proudly representing Northern Ireland at the Games.

Third year student and University of Birmingham Sport Scholar Yasmin has achieved some remarkable accolades during her time at the University, proving she is more than capable of balancing her studies alongside international competition. As a Midlands native herself, we also know how much competing on home soil means to Yasmin, and she’s a fantastic example of the home-grown talent we have here at UoB.

That’s not the only good news for the UoB Judo Club, as Biology student Lauren Semple has also been selected to represent her home nation, Jamaica, in the Games. Lauren, who is also a valued member of the University’s netball club, has recently returned from the British University Judo Championships where she finished in fifth place. We are very much looking forward to following her inaugural Commonwealth Games appearance in Birmingham.

Fellow Judo scholars Rhys Thompson and Lachlan Moorhead will also be competing between Monday 1 – Wednesday 3 August, but will be representing Team England. Fresh from their performances at the recent European Championships, 81kg fighter Lachlan will join his fellow British Judo team mate Rhys, who will compete in the Men’s 100kg category.

One former student who we will be warmly welcoming back this summer is alumna, Gemma Atherley. Gemma, who was very recently a popular member of UoB Swimming Club, will return to Sport & Fitness to train for the Games, as she prepares to represent Team Jersey in this year’s 100m and 200m backstroke events. Netball alumna Hannah Leighton will also be returning to the Midland’s to represent Team Scotland at the NEC arena next month.

Congratulations are in order for alumna and TASS scholar Heather Cowell, who will be taking to the Coventry Arena to form part of England’s Rugby 7s team in the Games. Alumni Oscar Clayton has also been selected as an injury reserve for Team Jamaica.

After seventy-two athletes were confirmed for selection to represent Team England in the Games, there were plenty of reasons for the UoB Athletics Club to celebrate. The list included current student and sport scholar, Laura Zialor, who will compete in the high jump event. Laura will be joined in the Team England athletics camp by UoB alumni and fellow former athletics club member, Chris McAlister, who has been selected to compete in the 400m hurdles.

As news of selections have continued to roll in, Team England have also announced a current UoB student is set to join their 35 strong cycling squad at this year’s games. Sport scholar and Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences student, Anna Henderson, will join the likes of five-time Olympic champion Dame Laura Kenny this summer as she competes in the road cycling event.

Another UoB student who has recently celebrated his selection to represent his home nation in the Commonwealth Games, is squash first team member and current Physics student, Muqtadir Nimji. A huge advantage for Muqtadir is he will compete on the same courts he trains and competes with the University’s squash team at UoB Sport & Fitness.

After some incredible performances for his club during this academic year, including at BUCS Big Wednesday and the University of Birmingham Squash Open, we are really excited to see what Muqtadir has to offer this summer.

It has been a long wait for our hockey stars, as several current students have patiently waited to hear if they too have been selected to join many of our hockey alumni at the Games.

We are delighted to confirm that current student and talented midfielder Lily Walker has been selected to represent Team England; Lily is already extremely familiar with the Birmingham 2022 hockey pitches after putting in some brilliant performances for the University this year. Having only made her international debut in April this year, 20-year-old Lily is the youngest member of this year’s senior Commonwealth squad, and we are really looking forward to seeing her compete on home soil.

Lily will no doubt be well supported by her UoB hockey predecessors, including Hannah Martin, Lily Owsley and Anna Toman, all of whom competed for Team England in the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Queensland, Australia. Congratulations to alumna Holly Hunt and Flora Peel who will also return to their familiar University pitches this summer. In total, one-third of Team England’s hockey squad is made up of students past and present from University of Birmingham! We are now eagerly awaiting the announcement of Team England men’s hockey team.

After competing in her first Commonwealth Games in Queensland back in 2018, current Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences student, Amy Costello, has once again been selected to represent Team Scotland this summer.

Hockey Wales have also made the all-important Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games announcement recently, with a number of UoB alumni also set to represent their home nation at the Games. This includes Welsh alumni Holly Munro and Xenna Hughes (Women’s team), as well as Hywel Jones (Men’s team).

Following his successful journey at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo last year, we are thrilled that current PhD student and Para Powerlifting champion Ali Jawad MBE will be supporting at the Games this year. As a double Commonwealth Games medalist himself, Ali has been appointed to the board of Commonwealth Games England as an athlete representative.

Another athlete who we are also looking forward to cheering on once again is UoB alumna and Para Triathlete, Alison Peasgood. Alison will be competing for her home nation, Team Scotland. Joining Alison at Birmingham’s Sutton Park this summer is fellow UoB alumna and 2013 ITU World Champion, Non Stanford, who will be hoping to lead Team Wales to triathlon victory in this year’s Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Finally, as well as proudly congratulating their selected students, one of our very own UoB coaches has also earned his place at this year’s Games. Luke Gunn will be taking a short break from his duties as Head of Athletics at University of Birmingham to work as part of Team England’s Endurance Support staff. Having competed in three Commonwealth Games himself, Luke will be sure to bring his experience, insight and knowledge with him.

We have so many reasons to celebrate the fantastic home-grown talent we have at the University of Birmingham, so congratulations to all of those who have been selected. We are also wishing the very best of luck to our athletes who are still waiting to hear, so watch this space for more Birmingham 2022 announcements.

Male runner recording his run on his phone at the Great Birmingham Run 10kCategoriesNutrition Physiology Psychology

What you need to know before running a 10k

If you’re worried about leaving it too late to start training, or simply have concerns about committing to your first ever long-distance run in front of a crowd, this blog should dispel some of those fears, and help you to separate fact from fiction when it comes to running events.

I DON’T KNOW IF I HAVE THE MOTIVATION FOR IT

We often talk about being physically fit, but your mental fitness and wellbeing is just as important when it comes to training for a 10k or further. Before we tackle how you’re going to run the distance, it’s important to firstly decide why you’re considering doing it, so let’s break it down.

First and foremost, it’s important that you’re joining us for the Great Birmingham Run for you and only you. In other words let’s not get caught up with trying to beat the personal best of a friend, or taking up running because our colleagues run home from work. There are several reasons for taking up running and setting yourself a 10k challenge, but the most important one is that you’re doing it because you really want to – and will be your best source of motivation too.

IT’S BEEN TOO COLD AND WET TO START TRAINING

Granted the recent weather has been particularly grey and gloomy – but for some people, these are their perfect running conditions. On those wet and miserable mornings or cold dark evenings, you need to ask yourself what your main motivation is for joining #TeamUoB for the 10k and keep reminding yourself of it.

Whether you’re trying to become a healthier version of yourself, want to eventually run a marathon, or are just hoping to get back into running after a prolonged period of time, this must be at the forefront of your mind when you’re finding training tough.

Every trainer will also tell you that a treat every now and again won’t do you any harm, so if you have to reward yourself with a sweet treat after particularly cold runs – do it!

WHAT IF I GET A BAD FINISHING TIME

This is where we should say it’s the taking part that counts, but we know how important finishing times are to any runner. One thing we will say however to anyone reading this who hasn’t signed up for the Great Birmingham Run because they think they’ll be too slow, is just be honest with yourself and you can’t go wrong.

Each one of us is capable of running a 10k, whatever your age or ability. That doesn’t mean that we’ll all be running it in the same timeframe – which is perfectly fine. The best way to complete the course is to set yourself a realistic target, especially if you’re just setting out, and then you can improve on this week on week.

If you initially plan your training sessions to build up your running programme gradually, you’ll find it much easier to notice the improvements you’re making. This will also help you to not put too much strain on your body, and prevent you from any pre-race injuries. Pacing yourself doesn’t mean finishing the 10k in a longer time, it just means you won’t burn out before the finishing line. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you can’t run the full distance either. There will be plenty of participants walking (or skipping) too.

I’VE NEVER RUN IN FRONT OF A CROWD BEFORE

Any long-distance runner will be able to recall a time they’ve completely forgotten there’s a crowd there. Huge cheering crowds can be brilliant for your motivation, as they’re genuinely there to support you around the course, and the elated atmosphere really helps too, but the most important people are those who you’re running with.

That’s why #TeamUoB is such an encouraging network of individuals. There’s no better feeling than crossing the finish line as part of a team in a sea of matching t-shirts, but having a whole community there for you before the run itself is really helpful. Particularly if you’re new to a 10k, other members can offer friendly advice from how often to train per week and how far, to what to eat on the day and which trainers will be kinder to your feet!

You may even meet some future running buddies too, or decide to join the Green Heart Runners or Cool Runnings.

I WILL BE CELEBRATING RAMADAN

It’s a busy time for those who have to fit in their regular daily tasks along with prayer time, so we hope to be able to advise in any way we can about the best ways to exercise. Although Ramadan may not be a time to push your limits or set personal records, there are definitely still ways to maintain a training regime ahead of running a 10k.

We chatted to our Personal Trainers at Sport & Fitness, to find out a bit more about sports nutrition during Ramadan, what they recommend doing, and when. You can find out what they had to say here.

We hope this has helped you to make up your mind about joining us at the Great Birmingham Run, but you can always visit our webpage for more details about #TeamUoB, including how to sign up.

Rory the Lion mascot running on the indoor track at BUCS NationalsCategoriesStudent News

What a weekend at BUCS Nationals

The atmosphere in Sheffield was brilliant, and it was really encouraging to see the eye-catching red of the Lions all around both venues. 

 

ATHLETICS & CROSS COUNTRY

Overall, it was the most successful BUCS indoors yet for our Athletics and Cross Country Club, with the most medals and most points accumulated in the club’s history, leaving them in second place in the overall championships.

 

During Friday’s qualification rounds, Diani Walker made her way to the final unscathed before picking up BUAC’s first medal of the weekend with a silver, the first of many medals to come. Other highlights from Friday’s qualifiers included all four of Birmingham’s 800m runners making it through the heats.

 

 

On Saturday every event had an athlete make it through their respective heat/semi-final. Individual highlights included Saskia Millard qualifying fastest across the women’s 3,000m heats, then going on to get BUAC’s first gold medal of the championships. Maisie Grice finished not far behind with a personal best of 9:29.86, earning her a bronze medal in her first 3,000m indoor final.

 

 

In the Men’s race Mike Ward stayed at the front pack throughout taking BUAC’s second gold medal, and then the Women’s 800m final saw both Tilly Simpson and Cesca Brint racing together, with Cesca achieving an indoor personal best of 2:07.53, earning her a silver medal in the process.

The 1500m final was yet another that featured two BUAC athletes, with Sabrina Sinha gaining a gold medal and Emily Thompson winning a well-earned bronze. In the men’s triple jump Josh Woods opened up with a 14.95m effort, which would prove enough to take home the gold medal in this event – the first medal of the field athletes.

 

 

It was however the Men’s long jump that was one of the most anticipated events for BUAC, with the duo of Sam Khogali and Jake Burkey forming of the strongest pairings the club has had for a very long time. BUAC president Jake took home a huge gold medal with a leap of 7.50m, and Sam finished with a bronze. 

 

 

Finally, the two relay teams stepped out to finish the championships. The girls were up first and Olivia Kimbowa ran a storming first leg before handing the baton over to Hannah Jones, with Jasmine Clark taking the third leg. Following her victory in the 1,000m at the Grand Prix on Saturday, Izzy Boffey ran a hugely important anchoring leg, consolidating the silver medal for the Women’s squad.

 

 

For the boys, all eyes were then on Harry Fisher to anchor the men home after some great runs from his team mates, and he brought the baton home in third place – another UoB medal! 

Two female University of Birmingham athletes hugging and smiling after their race

SWIMMING

Congratulations to our swimming club who performed excellently Ponds Forge Sports Centre over the weekend. Both the Women’s and Men’s representatives all qualified for the 100m and 1500m heats, and the mixed 4x100m medley relay saw Ollie Morgan, Tom Hamilton, Abi Lacey and Laura McNab finish in 4:05.18 for a new club record.

 

 

In Sunday’s final session the club won a brilliant three medals for UoB, with Frances Newe becoming BUCS Nationals champion with a gold medal in the 400IM in a 6-second PB. Both Ollie Morgan and Laura McNab returned home with bronze medals.

University of Birmingham swimmer facing the camera on the side of the pool with competitor athletes adjusting their swimming caps in the background

CLIMBING

BUCS Nationals was a great first competition of the year for UoB’s climbing club. Congratulations to Sammy Oakes for winning the men’s category and Kylar Giorgi for placing 2nd.

 

 

FENCING

Well done to both the Men’s Sabre fencers who made it through to T64, and the Women’s Foil athletes, who performed exceedingly well and made it to the final 32 at nationals.

 

 

BADMINTON

The way our Badminton Club worked together during Nationals was outstanding. A special shoutout goes to the Women’s Doubles team who sailed through the qualifying rounds, as well as to our Mixed Doubles who made it through to the quarter finals!