Runners shaking hands after raceCategoriesStudent News

A Record-Breaking Weekend of BUCS Action For UoB

It was medals-galore for the University of Birmingham this weekend, with many of our clubs competing across the country at the highest level.


University of Birmingham Athletics and Cross Country Club were simply outstanding at the BUCS Cross Country Championships in Horsenden Hill, London. After fighting off tough competition from the likes of Loughborough and St Mary’s Universities, our club won more medals than any other institution in the event’s history!

The pressure was on for our athletes, with the added incentive of World University Cross Country selection up for grabs too, but our club did not disappoint. The display of depth in the Men’s and Women’s shorter races not only made for an incredibly special day for the team, but also shows the potential for this team to grow its influence in the coming years.

In the men’s long race, Sports Scholar Will Battershill won the individual gold medal in epic style, whilst also securing the overall team win alongside club mates Will Barnicoat, Mike Ward and Joe Hudson. UoB claimed the top 4 spots in the men’s short race, with scintillating runs from Ethan O’shea, Tom Keen, Ollie Smart and Kristian Imroth, earning a team gold and team silver in the process, with another 4 Birmingham students finishing in the top 15.

In the Women’s races our cross-country stars really excelled as part of a team, with a special mention to long course team silver medallists Saskia Millard, Charlotte Alexander and Maisie Grice. The women’s team also won the gold medal in the short race. UoB is currently awaiting the selection for the GB World University Cross Country team later this week, but with teams of 6 male and females looking to be selected, we could well have 4-5 athletes earning GB call-ups.

A huge amount of credit to the students but also to our Athletics coaches who work extremely hard to produce these top quality athletes, including our coaches featured in our Game Changer campaign, Bud Baldaro.


Closer to home, our Sport & Fitness Club hosted BUCS Squash Premier League Stage 2, another exciting BUCS competition this weekend, with other Universities from around the UK arriving to compete.

There were some fantastic results across the board, with the Men’s 1s winning the competition undefeated and topping the table. Women’s 1s placing second, after narrowly missing out to the University of Nottingham in a close game. This gives us a strong advantage going into the cup with our teams being higher seeded.


Also this weekend, our Gymnastics Club travelled to Leicester for BUCS Gymnastics competition. Well done to Hannah Wedgewood, Holly Clark, Chandra Bhamidimarri, and Olivia Rabaiotti for their brilliant silver medal win in the Women’s All Round final, contributing to our BUCS points tally. Our club returned home with an incredible nine medals overall across the participatory levels.


On Saturday 6th February, three of our korfball teams set of for Cardiff to compete in a BUCS Regionals Tournament. Each team finished second in their group leading to a battle of the UoB teams, with the 1s coming out on top. They have now qualified for the BUCS National Championships.


Finally, we’d like to say a huge congratulations to our Netball Women’s 1s, who have won the EY Premiership North BUCS Division and now progress onto the quarter-finals. Also on a winning streak this year are our Hockey Women’s 1s who have remained unbeaten all season and if they secure a win or draw on 9th Feb (2:30pm at home) they will have finished at the top of the ICG Women’s Premier National League – a title we have not won to date!  

Term 2 is off to a flying start for lots of our clubs, and with many BUCS medals still up for grabs and the closing of leagues over the upcoming weeks. Turning an eye to BUCS Nationals on the weekend of the 18th – 20th February with over 100 athletes competing across 5 sports.

We’re very much looking forward to seeing what’s to come for our Lions.

The women's rugby team pose for a celebratory team photo between the rugby posts at University of BirminghamCategoriesStudent News

Double Victory for Birmingham Lions at Engage

After dominating performances, UoB’s men’s and women’s rugby clubs triumphed over Nottingham Trent and Loughborough at Engage.

Opening the second Super Series event of the year with the women’s match, the event looked fated to be a spectacular one. The pre-match build-up heard a lot of talk about the talent in Loughborough’s squad, especially with their impressive undefeated league record heading into the game. For other teams, they may have felt defeated before the match had even begun. But for Birmingham, they seemed to thrive under the pressure. Within the first six minutes, Amber Swinglehurst had broken through the Loughborough defensive line and scored the first try of the match, which was swiftly converted by Sophie Jones to make the score 7-0 Birmingham.

A stunned Loughborough team then made several mistakes in quick succession, allowing for Charlotte Daley to make a fantastic run down the left wing to score the second try of the match. Once again, Sophie Jones was cool under pressure and made a difficult conversion with ease. Loughborough managed to sneak in a lucky try off a loose ball but, heading into half time, Birmingham looked to be in control.

The second half was where the real fireworks began. Charlotte Daley once again stormed down the left wing, dodging three opposing players before she dove over the try line. Another collected conversion by Sophie Jones, followed by tries for Vice Captain Sophie Jarett and Molly Chidzey, brought the score up to 31-12. With the end of the match in sight, Charlotte Daley made an incredible interception to score her hat-trick in the 81st minute of the game.

The final score: 36-12, with Charlotte Daley winning a well-deserved Player of the Match.

It was a tough act to follow, but the men certainly lived up to expectations. Like the women, they made their mark quickly, with Matt Harrison scoring within the first five minutes and leaving Nottingham Trent scrambling to keep up. Despite an equaliser soon after, the Lions took this in their stride with Harrison scoring his second of the night which was coolly converted by Nick Blain. Birmingham barely played a minute in their own half, scoring two more tries in quick succession before Trent finally managed to score again, making it 24-14.

With half time looming, Will Pearce made an excellent run through the Trent defence, diving over the try line much to the crowd’s excitement. A successful conversion by Blain saw Birmingham heading back to their dugout firmly in control with the score at 31-14.

After half time, the tries just kept coming. Some fantastic play from Traynor and Bugg ended with tries for each of them, the Lion’s score creeping higher as the minutes went on. As players began to tire, Nottingham Trent started to make a small comeback, scoring two tries quickly to bring the score up to 50-37. But the Lions had the last say, finishing the game with a bang by scoring and converting their last try in the dying seconds of the match.

Final score: 57-42, with Will Pearce winning Player of the Match for his excellent contribution.

With Engage over for another year, both teams can reflect on their success as they start to think about recruitment once again for next season. There’s never been a more exciting time to play rugby and it’s safe to say that this year’s event will go down as one of the most successful Super Series events ever. It was certainly a night to remember.

Seven of the women's cricket team stoof with their bronze medals at the National Indoor FinalsCategoriesStudent News

UoB Women’s Cricket Third in Country at National Indoor Finals Day

In front of a home crowd at Edgbaston Stadium, UoB’s Women’s Cricket secured a thrilling third-place finish at the National Indoor Finals Day on Saturday.


The day was already set to be a spectacle with eight university teams from across the country heading to Birmingham in the hopes of securing the title. Competing in Group 2, Birmingham faced off against Kent, Edinburgh, and Cardiff Met in three matches to make it through to the semi-finals.

Match 1 against Kent got Birmingham off to a good start with Kent batting first and making 85-5. Tilly Mason bowled incredibly well, finishing with figures of 3-12 off her two overs. When Birmingham came to bat, they cruised along, knocking off the runs required with no wickets lost. Batting highlights included Gemma Porter’s 27* and Tilly Mason’s 24*.

Birmingham’s second match against Edinburgh was more of a challenge. After batting first, Birmingham put on an impressive 82-4 with Mason again scoring freely, making 28*. She was well supported by Ellie Harris who defied Edinburgh’s bowlers and scored an extra 11* runs to Birmingham’s total. Once again, Birmingham bowled well with Mason taking 2 wickets and Captain Sophie Hoyes also taking 2-22. But Edinburgh just managed to chase down the runs with only five balls to spare.

Match 3 saw Cardiff Met bat first and scoring an incredible 121-1. It was always going to be a tough ask to chase such a huge total and, unfortunately, Birmingham were unable to catch up. However, Holly Reeder’s 21 and Becca Woodnorth’s 12 would prove useful and gave all the Birmingham fans something to cheer for.

After suffering two losses and drawing on points with Edinburgh, a tense waiting game ensued as the match umpires discussed and calculated the run rates to decide who went through to the semi-finals. Eventually, after what was described as “the closest tie they’d seen”, the umpires declared Birmingham through to the semi-final.

Birmingham batted first, making 63-6 with Porter once again showcasing some incredible and scoring 35 runs. Loughborough’s bowlers performed well and restricted Birmingham’s total. It was a difficult innings in which to score however the end total was very defendable.

When Birmingham came to bowl, they started off strongly and managed to contain Loughborough’s famously destructive batters. Hoyes and Porter both took wickets, making Loughborough work hard to chase the runs down. Sadly, Birmingham’s final dreams were not to be as Loughborough managed to win the match with an over to spare – a close game worthy of a semi-final.

Loughborough would go on to win championship, however Birmingham’s performance meant they achieved third in the table. Sophie Hoyes, Birmingham’s Captain, expressed how proud she was of the team.

“We went into the finals with zero expectations,” she said. “But I was massively proud of how everyone performed individually and as a team.” Hoyes went onto say how grateful the squad was for the crowd’s support at Edgbaston. “It really boosted everyone,” she added. “We’re now looking forward to taking our success into the outdoor season!”

The performance in the indoor competition certainly bodes well for the summer’s outdoor championship. With Birmingham already preparing for their next matches, it is safe to say we can expect a lot more excitement from this squad in the months to come!

Two women sat in a studio with their eyes closed in meditationCategoriesPsychology

Meditation: What it is and why you should try it

What is meditation

Meditation involves developing the ability to consciously train our attention and awareness.
Usually, you take a seated position with the eyes closed. Your attention is then focused inwards towards the mind and body. Thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations are usually the focal point, but anything could be used as a point of conscience awareness.
Our day-to-day lives are usually bound up with solving one problem after the next. We follow our thoughts and feelings without ever slowing down and taking joy in the process. This ‘autopilot’ mode can serve as a great tool to maximise the ease and efficiency of daily tasks, such as walking or driving. However, autopilot is also responsible for taking us from one thought to the next in a spiral of worrying/rumination when we are faced with an emotional problem.
Taking time to purposefully slow down and observe our own mind, can be insightful and illuminating. This observation can bring delight in the simple process of performing a task, rather than simply a fixation on completing it. Too much time spent in autopilot means we end up lacking the mental space we need to process our experiences.
Turing the attention inwards allows you to take note of thoughts and feelings as they appear. Witnessing this, and not getting involved in the sensation, can allow us to see that we can make the choice to let thoughts and feelings pass by, without getting caught up in them.

Benefits of meditation

In recent years, there has been increasing research into the effects of meditation on the physical structure of the brain. As well as the benefits of regular practice to individuals suffering with mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.
Those with a long history of practising meditation regularly have demonstrated increased connectivity between frontal areas of the brain which are important for cognitive control, and limbic regions which are involved in emotional responding resulting in improved emotional regulation.
The default mode network (DMN) has been dubbed the ‘me centre’ of the brain, and is associated with mind wandering and that sense of being ‘lost in thought’. When the DMN is over-active, we experience anxiety, ruminating over the past and future, and a general reduction in happiness. Meditation has been shown to slow down the DMN, and give us the tools to step out of it more often.
Meditation practice has also been shown to increase levels of attention and concentration. This is unsurprising as in meditation, we are training the mind, just as we train the body. As we strengthen the mind through this training, new connections form and new pathways emerge. We increase our capacity for awareness and focused attention.
Far too little time is spent in training the mind, even though it is the filter everything we experience must go through. Cleaning and adjusting that filter, even just a little, can have profound effects in our lives.

Types of meditation

There are countless styles of meditation across a range of different faiths and cultures, but broadly speaking, the three listed below are the most common types.


This style of meditation is a process of calming the mind, and is often translated as “tranquillity of the mind”. This style of meditation can bring about deep states of relaxation and focus.
Usually, one focusses on the breath. This can be carried out wherever one feels the sensation of the breath the most (e.g. the tip of the nose, chest or abdomen). Complete attention is guided towards that physical sensation of the breath, until there is nothing else except the breath. When thoughts and feelings arise, one would gently guide themselves back to the breath.
Extended periods of time focusing on a single point of awareness can bring about exceptionally deep states of peace, and can heighten your moment-to-moment experience of life. Simply walking or sitting can become intensely pleasurable. You start to slow down and appreciate the subtleties of life much more.


This style of meditation involves witnessing the rise and cessation of all mental and physical phenomenon. It is translated as “insight”, and is involved in cultivating wisdom.
Vipassana method of meditation uses any mental or physical sensation that comes into consciousness, which are then simply observed non-judgmentally. The idea is that thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations are each taken as a point of awareness, until they naturally pass.
This method allows you to see first-hand the transience of thoughts, and how they will disappear if not ‘fed’ by our mind. Feeling anxiety, for example in your stomach, becomes something that you, are witnessing, not something that is part of ‘you’. It can, with practice, be a sensation that is simply observed, and let go of.
Observing the mind in this way can help us gain a different perspective on our lives. This may also help alleviate some of the psychological sufferings that we face when we get caught up in day-to-day worries.


This style of meditation involves cultivating warm, loving feelings for others and oneself. A common translation of this Pali word is “loving-kindness”. It is a form of concentration meditation, similar to that of Samatha.
Usually, a few key phrases are used, aimed at an object which the individual holds in mind. At first, the object is that of somebody they love (parent, child, or close friend for example). But not someone you have, or have had, a romantic relationship with. The person’s image is held on to, as phrases such as “may you be happy”, “may you be free from suffering”, “may you be strong and confident” are repeated.
The next stage of this practice, is to switch the object to a person towards whom you have indifferent feelings. Then finally, towards a person who you dislike or towards whom you have negative feelings.
Regular practice with this method can be incredibly transformative. Meditating in this way reminds us of how much love and compassion we can feel towards another human being. It can help open up your heart and allow you to hold onto a feeling of genuine love, for extended periods of time. Similarly, it can, and should, also be aimed at yourself. As truly loving oneself is often a necessary step towards fully opening up with others.

mywellness appCategoriesYour Membership

What is mywellness and how to download it



The mywellness app is Technogym’s solution to tracking your fitness both indoors and outdoors; it gives you access to a huge library of exercise demonstrations (equipment, body weight, accessories), programmes and the ability to receive personalised programmes from our trainers.


Mywellness is available to download for free on Apple and Android devices.
Apple Download          Android Download
Step 1: Download the app from the App Store or Google Play
Step 2: Create an account with mywellness
Step 3: Add in your age, height and weight to get more accurate results from your workouts
Step 4: Consent to the Data Protection and Privacy Policies (Technogym)
Step 5: Enable your location and the app will automatically identify when you are in the Sport & Fitness gym in the future
Step 6: Once you have created your account, you will be directed to the mywellness homepage. In the top left, select ‘Find a facility’ and type in ‘University of Birmingham’ and select our facility

mywellness homepageFind UoB Sport Fitness Facility

Step 7: You will now be able to see all of the programmes and the MOVES leaderboard for UoB Sport & Fitness

Step 8: Watch our videos on how to access workouts on mywellness or how to track your workouts with mywellness whether you’re at home, in the gym or going for a run outside



Every physical activity you take part in enables you to collect MOVES. These are units of measurement that you can compare with others members in the club. You can sync other apps such as Fitbit and Map My Run to convert your steps and activities into MOVES.
The app will then keep a record of your MOVES to create reports and analytics so you can see your overall activity status in an easy format.