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Inhale, Exhale | Stress Awareness Month

Inhale, Exhale. 

As we embrace Stress Awareness Month, we acknowledge that amidst the sunny days, this month can often be challenging for many. Whether it’s the pressure of daily tasks or the looming exams, the stress can weigh heavily. That’s why we’ve reached our wellness expert, Peter Antonio, to offer some advice.  

Why is it important to recognise stress signs in your body?

Stress can creep into our daily lives subtly, often underlying our default state of being without us noticing. We may be aware of these altered levels when experiencing a sudden, acute bout of stress; however, chronic states can be more difficult to detect.

Feeling states of stress can be tough to deal with physically, not to mention psychologically if left unchecked. If we ignore this, stress within us can increase our heart rate and blood pressure, as well as raise the prevalence of headaches and stomach issues.

What should you do when you deal with a stressful situation?

Various methods exist for addressing stress, ranging from direct to indirect approaches. Depending on the source of stress and our life circumstances, some methods may prove more effective than others. Whenever a feeling arises, you can usually recognise a signature of that sensation somewhere in your body. When you identify this, try to find somewhere quiet, close your eyes, relax, and search for the area of the body you feel the most. 

A headshot of Peter Antonio a Sport & Fitness Gym Instructor.

Attempt to sit or lay with your chest open, allowing yourself space. Embrace your feelings without judgment; they are part of you and all human beings. Acknowledge its presence without criticism, recognising that it serves a purpose and will naturally disappear if not interfered with. Practice this for 5 minutes before resuming your daily activities. Have a moment to reflect on how the stress feels and take pride in empowering yourself to address its root cause directly.

 

Peter Antonio, Senior Gym Instructor

This month, prioritise self-care and nurture your emotional well-being. Remind yourself that you’re not alone, and there are people in your life who you can invite for a nature walk and share your feelings. Inhale and exhale to ground yourself and find calm amidst any challenges you may face.

Sport & Fitness provides a lot of holistic classes during the week. Have you ever tried candlelit or hatha yoga? May is the perfect time to do it! 

Woman on a yoga mat practising yoga pose
Trio walking alongside the outdoor courtsCategoriesEvents

Walk your way into May | National Walking Month

Walk your way into May | National Walking Month

May marks National Walking Month, centred around promoting the benefits of walking on your physical and mental wellbeing.

What are the physical benefits of walking?

 

From a physical health perspective, walking is a fantastic form of exercise that can increase cardiovascular fitness. When done regularly, it strengthens bones, boosts endurance and improves your heart health. Whether you prefer a slow stroll with a friend in the park, or a faster paced walk whilst listening to your favourite hype songs – all forms of walking are beneficial.

Sport & Fitness centre

How can walking improve mental wellbeing?

 

Walks can help increase mental alertness and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. They are a great way to clear your head, re-align your focus and self-reflect. Fancy some company? Taking a stroll with friends, family and loved ones provides the perfect opportunity to have a conversation and share thoughts at the same time as keeping active – it’s a win win!

Walking opportunities at the University

 

Active club

 

As part of our Active Club Programme, we host Walking Sport sessions which are exactly as the name suggests – playing your favourite sports, but at a slower pace by walking. These sessions are open to all, and offer a gentler form of exercise tailored to all fitness levels. With Table Tennis, Basketball, Football and Netball taking place every week, get involved and meet likeminded people.

Outdoor courts with blossom tree
Outdoor courts with blossom tree

Explore the campus

 

With a beautiful campus to explore right at your fingertips (or toe-tips in this case), take a scenic walk around our facilities and the wider campus. We may be biased, but the path alongside our outdoor sports courts offers a fantastic view of both sports action and the blooming blossom trees.

 

The Campus Mile is a guided route around campus, that takes 30 minutes on average to complete at a leisurely pace – we recommend you check the weather forecast beforehand!

Behind view of girl on cross-trainer

Discover our gym facilities

 

Should the sunny spring weather not hold up, there’s always the option to get your steps in indoors!

 

With our recent Technogym refurbishment, we have a range of recently installed, world-class cardiovascular equipment for you to track your steps, speed, endurance and more!

sixty students athletes from Ivy League Exchange posing on the athletics trackCategoriesAnnouncement Student News

Birmingham Ivy League Exchange 2024

Birmingham Ivy League Exchange 2024

Just after Easter, a squad of 60 selected athletes, including five coaches, set out on a two-week student exchange to four Ivy League Universities from Harvard, Yale, Penn and Cornell, following in the footsteps of generations of Birmingham student-athletes before them. 

franklin field athletics track

An earthquake, storm, and the experience of a lifetime

 

The adventure began in New York City, where a storm welcomed the team in the heart of Manhattan. Even with the weather, some athletes eagerly ventured into Central Park for their first run! But this wasn’t the only surprise during their trip – following a rewarding Alumni gathering in NYC, the team faced an unexpected challenge – a magnitude 4.8 earthquake. Despite obstacles, our senior athletes and coaches had a chance to share their stories and network with the attendees, having a rewarding experience for both parties impressed by each other’s achievements. Later in the day, the athletes paired up with their student hosts for the three-night visit to the University of Pennsylvania.

Taking wins back home! 

The first competition took place at the iconic Franklin Fields stadium, where Birmingham League had a chance to experience and take three individual wins from our athletes, each achieving personal bests in the process:

 

Josh Woods leading in the Long Jump with 7.41 (PB)

 

James Pratt excelled in Javelin, with 64.74 (PB)

 

Jasmine Wilkins sprinted through 100m, with 11.78 (PB) – an impressive score putting her for consideration for the World U20 Championships in Peru later this summer.

 

A highlight of the trip came at the University of Connecticut Northeast Challenge, where the team shattered records and set the stage for future successes. The quartet of Molly Swingler, Jasmine Wilkins, Zoe Austridge and Maddie Whapples came away with a New University Club Record of 47.13s in the Women’s 4×100 relay.

 

We wanted to say a huge congratulations to all participants and our winners!

IMG_1967

A Journey Across Four Universities

 

After successful and exciting days with our friendly host at the University of Pennsylvania, the journey continued to Cornell University, where the team had to experience a solar eclipse, embracing the time to recover and train in world-class facilities voted one of the top in the US.

Arriving at Harvard, the athletes were greeted by their fellows. Having a full day in Boston, the team toured the impressive campus before visiting the famous Fenway Park for an evening at the Red Sox baseball game – a truly cultural experience.

Arriving at Yale University for the final stage of their journey, the team enjoyed a leisurely four days in New Haven, focusing on recovery, training and sightseeing, including a campus tour, Cherry Blossom Festival, beach visit and more.

Sharing his experience, Luke Gunn – UoB Sport Head of Performance – said:

 

 

“I would like to extend a huge thank you to all of you at the University who assisted in making this event happen be it through fundraising, assistance with logistics or just shared passion for this amazing exchange. We are so proud of this wonderful relationship we have with all 4 universities as it anchors us in connections with counterparts across the pond with similar passions, problems and ambitions.”

The University of Birmingham will be hosting the next exchange in 2026, where we will see the best athletes from Penn and Cornell competing on campus! The Ivy League exchange has been taking place since the 1960s and, based on the enthusiasm from all parties, it’s easy to see this continuing through to the 2060s and beyond.

Sports Awards attendees holding name placeholders in spectator seatsCategoriesAnnouncement Student News

Secure your tickets for Sports Awards 2024

Secure your tickets for Sports Awards 2024

Clubs, coaches and recreational teams can now secure their seats for this year’s Sports Awards 2024 evening taking place on Thursday 30 May 2024.

Nominations closed last month across the 13 categories which celebrate the sporting success of the Universities competitive and recreational representatives, welcome over 250 applications this year.

Returning once again to the Brammall Music Building, general tickets for this year’s Awards can now be secured by filling out our online form, open from today.  In a slight change to the usual proceedings and to allow for more availability, individuals can now book their place, as well as up to an allocation of four additional places.

 

There are 200 general tickets allocated and are based on a first-come-first-served basis, so be sure to book early to avoid disappointment. To allow for inclusivity, some larger clubs may be capped at the discretion of the Club Development team to ensure all clubs/teams can be represented.

Please note, all shortlisted nominees across each category will each receive an additional ticket for a guest to join them on the evening. Shortlisted nominees will be contacted at the beginning of May, and any duplicated ticket bookings as a result of earlier bookings will be managed by our team.  

 

Sports club holding medal on stage
Students receiving plaque on stage

To book, CLICK HERE and simply provide your details, the names and email addresses of those attending in your party as well as their respective club/team. Once submitted, each individual will receive a confirmation email – these may not be sent out immediately, but our team will look to process confirmations twice a week. There will also be an option to include an accessibility support that may be required, such as a BSL interpreter. 

 

This year’s event will welcome back last year’s compères Club Development Manager Amy Preston and Participation Manager Helen Coy, alongside a welcome from the University’s Director of Sport Andy Allford.

 

Guest presenters will also introduce each of our awards, with official photographs as well as the chance to have your own group photographs courtesy of Take That Photo.

Champagne glasses in pyramid shape on serving table

Attendees will enjoy a welcome drink on arrival, as well as food options post-awards as well as musical entertainment from the University Music Society ensemble.

 

Keep an eye on the UoB Sport social channels and website for updates, as well as news of this year’s shortlisted nominees in the build-up to Thursday 30 May.

A general view of the Squash court as Saurav Ghosal of Team India and Paul Coll of Team New Zealand compete in the Men's Singles Squash at University of Birmingham Hockey & Squash Centre for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth GamesCategoriesAnnouncement

New government report credits Commonwealth Games 2022

New government report credits Commonwealth Games 2022

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) shared its report documenting the impact of the 2022 Commonwealth Games held in Birmingham.

The report shows that the Games contributed nearly £1.2 billion to the UK economy. Nearly half of that came in the West Midlands alone and created 22,380 full time equivalent years of employment.

 

Held between 28 July and 8 August 2022, Birmingham brought together 6,600 athletes and team officials from across 72 Commonwealth nations and territories.

 

The Games broke the record for ticket sales at a Commonwealth Games, with a global TV audience of 834.9m, over 215m digital views and 141m social media engagements.

 

It was the biggest multi-sport event in England since London 2012 and delivered the largest-ever fully integrated programme of para sport.

 

It was the first major multi-sport event in history to award more medals to women than men and Team England rose to the occasion and delivered their best-ever performance at the Games, winning 176 medals, 57 gold, 66 silver and 53 bronze to finish second in the medal table.

 

Launching the report last week at SportAccord World Sport and Business Summit, hosted at Birmingham’s International Convention Centre, the UK Sports Minister, Stuart Andrew said:

 

“With over 1.5 million tickets sold, the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games was a record-breaking event that is still having a positive impact on the region two years on.

 

“This report shows that hosting major sporting events in this country boosts growth, creates jobs and has a lasting social impact for communities and some of the world’s best athletes will once again descend on Birmingham for the European Athletics Championships in 2026.”

The full report can be accessed here.

 

Oliver (Ollie) Morgan cheering with arms up in the air in the pool.CategoriesAnnouncement Student News

Swim scholar Ollie Morgan World’s third fastest in Olympic qualification

Swim scholar Ollie Morgan World’s third fastest in Olympic qualification

PATHWAY TO PARIS – Third year EDCAP scholar Ollie Morgan stunned crowds at the recent British Swimming Championships with a record-breaking swim, securing him a place in the Paris 2024 Olympics.

Ollie’s swimming journey has been one to watch, initially joining the University of Birmingham Swimming Club alongside studying Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences. In his second year, Ollie was recognised for his outstanding performance in the pool and awarded an EDCAP (Elite Dual Career Athlete Pathway) scholarship.

 

This week, Ollie became the third fastest 100m Backstroke in the world with a time of 52.70 breaking Liam Tancock’s long-standing British record. His attention will now turn to the 200m event taking place this Sunday. 

Scholar Ollie Morgan performing the backstroke, arm out of the water wearing a red hat.

Through the scholarship programme delivered by the Performance Centre, Ollie has received tailored support and access to specialist resources to help progress his swimming career to the next level.

 

It’s been an incredibly successful year for the swim scholar, with a number of club, University and BUCS records broken.

In April 2023, Ollie became a triple British Champion winning the 50m, 100m, and 200m Backstroke at the British Championships. From this, he then gained his first ever selection to represent Great Britain at the World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, Japan, securing a ninth place ranking.

 

At just 20 years old it has been incredible to see Ollie progress from strength to strength, with much owed to Swimming head coach Gary Humpage and his team within the UoB Swimming team. 

Close up shot of Ollie Morgan wearing red swim cap and goggles on head
Ollie Morgan and Gary Humpage
Image: Instagram, @ollie.morgannn

Speaking on Ollie’s Paris qualification, Gary said: “We are on an incredible journey that started back in October 2021 when Ollie joined us at UOB, I could see he had an incredible talent and had many technical traits of a top class international swimmer.

 

“Ollie becoming triple British champion last year was an incredible achievement that has only ever been achieved once before. From that point, the Olympics was an achievable goal, and since then we have worked everyday on the details that would take us there and formulated a strategy and race plan for the trials to make the Olympic team.

 

“We had an idea of what it would take to win at the trials and worked on the race segments that would lead us to that time in training every session.

To see Ollie race at the Olympic trials was incredible experience and one that I will never forget. We have an incredible team culture within UoB Swimming, the positivity of our team members has really helped in training and competition to achieve incredible results along with the superb support from our MDT team.

 

“I’d like to thank everyone involved. I am absolutely thrilled for Ollie to achieve what he has worked so hard for.”

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 CentreCategoriesAnnouncement Student News

Introducing ‘Pathway to Paris’ series

Introducing ‘Pathway to Paris’ series

With all eyes turning towards this year’s summer Olympics taking place in Paris, we’re taking you with us as we showcase the role that students, coaches, alumni and the University will play this 2024.

From athlete hopefuls to media commentary, Birmingham students past and present will be hopeful of helping shape a new sporting legacy following the success of the Commonwealth Games, hosted in Birmingham back in 2022.

 

That’s why we’re bringing readers a new blog series PATHWAY TO PARIS as we highlight the journey that our talented sportspeople at the University are about to embark on. 

A general view of the Squash court as Saurav Ghosal of Team India and Paul Coll of Team New Zealand compete in the Men's Singles Squash at University of Birmingham Hockey & Squash Centre for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

The 2024 Olympics in Paris mark a historic return to the city that last hosted the Games in 1924.  Coinciding with the centenary of the last Paris Games, the city is undergoing extensive preparations, revitalizing infrastructure and creating state-of-the-art venues to welcome athletes and spectators from around the globe.

 

Kicking off on Friday 26 July, this year’s Games will close on Sunday 11 August. Over the next few months, some of our EDCAP and Sport scholars will be taking part in competitions and qualifiers, alongside our world-class sports coaches taking international roles.

 

Watch this space for all the latest selection news. 

With sport very much on the agenda, we caught up with University of Birmingham’s Director of Sport, Andy Allford, to preview an exciting few months building up to the Games.

 

Q: Andy, you’ve experienced an Olympics before first-hand, what is it like to be a part of?

 

A: I’ve been lucky enough to go to two Olympic Games, Beijing as a support staff member and London as an Olympic Team Leader. I was very proud to be part of TeamGB, and it can also be a strange experience as the Olympic Village is effectively a bubble! You have all of these amazing sportspeople all in one place. Your job as an Olympic Team Leader is to ensure the noise around the games doesn’t affect the athlete. 

Q: How have your experiences shaped your career?

 

A: There was much to learn being in the High Performance system, but when sport becomes emotive, it definitely has helped me keep a cool head when the stakes are high at a Games time. The approach to Wellbeing was also useful as the basics (sleep, nutrition, etc) all aid performance at every level. 

Q: Students, staff and alumni will all be involved in Paris, what role is Birmingham playing on the international sport stage? And what are you most excited about?

 

Birmingham has a rich history in sport, being the first UK institution to introduce a sports-based degree option for students back in the 1940s. Since then, we have been at the forefront of perfomance and research, culminating in the Commonwealth Games two years ago – where athletes, coaches and University staff all experienced the work that goes into hosting a global, multi-sport event.

 

TeamGB Pursuit Cyclist Paul Manning, now involved in the backroom staff is one of our most prolific Olympians alongside numerous graduate hockey players to name a few. We’re also a world-class facility, hosting the legendary Team Jamaica two weeks prior to the 2012 London Olympics, before they went on to win 12 medals! 

 

I am most excited about seeing how our students and alumni all get on in Paris. To be involved is an achievement in itself, and everyone at UoB Sport will be cheering them on all the way! 

Wide shot of outdoor pitches at night (water based, tennis/netball and Bournbrook 3G)