CategoriesEvents Student News

Your Sports Awards 2024 Wrapped

Your Sports Awards 2024 Wrapped

Students, staff and coaches across UoB Sport enjoyed an evening of celebrations and recognition at the Sports Awards 2024!

 

Introduced by Andy Allford, Director of Sport, we saw the event was hosted by Helen Coy, Participation Development Manager, and Amy Preston, Club Development Manager.

 

With 13 award categories this year, the evening was full of celebrations across our sportspersons, clubs, and coaches.

 

Read on for a breakdown of our winners!

SPORTS COLOURS

 

Sport Colours are non-performance-based and awarded to individuals based on a member’s contribution beyond their established role, going over and above for their club or for sport across the University. 

 

Presented by Gary Bilham.

 

Well done to:

Josh Woods (Athletics), Jack Kadansky (Boxing), Asia Abadie (Fencing), William Clark (Handball), Duncan Gladwin (Hockey), Lucy Dawson (Hockey), Paddy Walton (Hockey) and Sophie Flint (Hockey), Joe Quelch (Men’s Rugby Union), Abi Turner (Netball), Halee Robinson (Netball), Holly Gaiger (Netball) and Maisie Stearns (Netball), Daniel Rhymer (Snooker & Pool) and Jonathan Mulvey (Snooker & Pool), Caitlyn Byrne (Women’s Basketball), Sophie Jarrett (Women’s Rugby Union) and Susannah Chitnis(Women’s Rugby Union).

We then moved on announce our individual and team awards….

VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR

This Award recognises individuals who have committed themselves to a cause, activity, or event for the greater good of their club, University, or wider community. 

 

Presented by Jon Elsmore, Director of Student Affairs.

 

The winner of this award is Jethro McGraw! A dedicated alumnus, Jethro has voluntarily coached two individual athletes to silverware-earning Great Britain debuts – Tyler Bilyard and Zoe Hunter – in addition to seeing those two athletes win individual medals for UoB at BUCS indoor athletics championships and team medals at BUCS Cross Country Championships.

CAMPUS LEAGUE TEAM OF THE YEAR

 

The Campus League Team of the Year award aims to recognise and celebrate the teams that best embody the Campus League ethos of participation, good sportsmanship and enjoyment of the game.

 

Presented by Sophie Mallinson, Participation Development Officer.

 

MFL Society Netball were crowned the winners!  This year saw the club achieving its first win, after several years of straight losses in Campus League.

REGIONAL TEAM OF THE YEAR

 

The Regional Team of the Year award aims to celebrate the achievements of some of our stand-out University teams that compete on a regional level within BUCS.

 

Presented by Matt Bridge, Deputy Head of the School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences.

 

Congratulations to Squash Men’s 3s, who completed the double this season, winning the BUCS Squash Tier 2 League and crowned BUCS Midlands Conference Cup Final Winners.

CLUB OF THE YEAR

 

This award is based on the overall success of a club across a number of areas. This can include – but is not limited to – committee and/or performance achievements, developments and innovation within the club, member engagement and connection with the wider sporting community both in- and external to the university.

 

Presented by Luke Gunn, Head of Performance.

 

Birmingham Squash excelled as the country’s top team for overall BUCS Squash Points 23-24 – an improvement from last year’s 2nd place – and both Men’s 1s and Women’s 1s were crowned BUCS National Champions. Women’s 2, Men’s 2 and Men’s 3 – each won their league with Men’s 4 runners-up (behind Men’s 3). Off the court, the club secured two sponsorship deals worth £2000 – the biggest ever sponsorship deals which has seen the development of a new social squash programme, offering 3 committee-led sessions per week, Pay-as-you-go social squash memberships and the continuation of three teams in Warwickshire League, providing opportunity for our lower team players to have more regular competitive match play. 

GRADUATING SCHOLARS

This year we will see a number of our most successful, highest profile and longest serving scholars graduate.

 

Amelia Quirk

Amelia has consistently excelled on both the international and national stage during her time studying Biomedical Materials Science followed by postgraduate research within the School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences. Highlights include a 5th place finish at the 2021 European Indoor Championships, along with several stand-out performances as part of the Great Britain Cross-Country team at European and World Championships. Amelia has also been an integral part of the club’s endurance squad winning multiple individual and teams medals, including the BUCS Cross Country title this year. 

 

Lily Walker

In 2022, at the end of her second year of study, Lily officially moved from Great Britain Hockey’s Elite Development Programme into the senior full-time setup, before gaining selection for her first World Cup held in Spain and the Netherlands. Her meteoric rise continued that summer when, as the youngest member of the squad, Lily won Commonwealth Gold for England in front of Old Joe on the Bournbook pitches. Lily was crowned University of Birmingham Sports Person of the Year in 2023. With over 50 combined caps for GB and England, Lily now has her sights set on selection for the 2024 Paris Olympics as she graduates from Social Policy.

 

Lachlan Moorhead

Following a stellar junior career, Lachlan has since become an established senior international athlete as part of British Judo’s World Class Programme. Career highlights, alongside his Business Management studies, include Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Gold and 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Slam Bronze. The GB number one has competed at numerous European and World Senior Championships and recently missed out on Paris 2024 qualification by the narrowest of margins.

 

Yasmin Javadian

Yasmin graduates from Dental Surgery with the 2022 Commonwealth Games Bronze medal capping off five fantastic years at Birmingham. During this period, she has exemplified the definition of a dual career student-athlete, balancing international judo alongside Dentistry. Yasmin’s long list of achievements include two European Junior Championship medals, British Junior and Senior titles, BUCS Gold, alongside the Bradnock Prize in Behavioural Science as part of her degree.

Thank you to each of you for all that you’ve done for the University, Sport, the Elite Dual Career Athlete Pathway scholarship programme and your Clubs during your time with us. We wish you all the very best for your future endeavours. 

HALF BLUES

 

Half blues are awarded to those who have achieved either a BUCS individual medal or a BUCS Team Championship gold medal during the 2023-24 academic year.

 

Presented by Adam Witt, BUCS Administrator.

 

We saw nearly 40 students awarded their half blues across Archery, Athletics, Fencing, Hockey, Judo, Karate, Netball, Powerlifting, Rowing, Snooker & Pool, Squash, Trampolining, Waterpolo, Weightlifting and Rugby Union Women’s

FULL BLUES

 

Full Blues are awarded to those individuals that have competed internationally at a senior championships.

 

This category was presented by Olympian and UoB Sport Hall of Fame Inductee, Hannah England.

 

Well done to our award winners:

 

From Lacrosse, Lottie Davies and Jessica Westwood….

 

and from Squash Elliott Morris Devred, Moustafa El Sirty and Nika Urh

STUDENT COACH OF THE YEAR

 

This award aims to recognise current students who are regarded as having made the most outstanding contribution to club sport through their role as a coach, working closely with their club committee to direct the development of the club and support members’ personal and performance development.

 

Presented by Cat Hardiman, Sports Officer

 

Congratulations to Alex Barker (Women’s Football) for winning this award. Alex’s guidance this year has contributed greatly to the progression and success of the 3s team going the season unbeaten and winning their league.

Working with players on and off the pitch, Alex has supported the entirety of the club by stepping up and supporting the 1s and 2s on matchdays.

COACH OF THE YEAR

 

The Coach of the Year award is for an individual who is regarded as having made the most outstanding contribution to club sport through their role as a coach.

 

Presented by Colette Thompson MBE, UoB Sport Hall of Fame Inductee

 

This year Dean Miller (Athletics) takes the crown. He has grown the Endurance team into a record 150 club members, plus another 50+ alumni and associates that train with us locally.

 

The University also had a record 4 participants at the World University Cross Country Championships in Oman this February all of whom came home with team medals. Dean was the GB Team Leader for this trip – which is once again the first time a UoB coach has held such a role. In ParaAthletics, Dean led in school outreach and development of a para programme at the University alongside the Birmingham Athletics Academy which caters for 8-16year old beginners in the sport. Dean will be on the GB team staff for the Paralympics this Summer in Paris.

OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION

 

The Outstanding Contribution award celebrates outstanding contribution made by an individual towards the continued improvement of UoB Sport & Fitness and the instances in which they have gone beyond expectations.

 

Presented by Simon Bray, Director of Campus Services.

 

Tara Hayes-Pankhurst (Active Residences) was announced as the winner. Tara has been working as part of the active residence’s activators team for 18 months. She has then supported the participation team in running Social Tennis, Social Badminton, and the delivery of kid’s camps. Her efforts have made a positive difference to students living in halls, Sport & Fitness members, students accessing the social sport sessions and wider members of the community.

NATIONAL TEAM OF THE YEAR

The National Team of the Year award aims to recognise and highlight the stand-out successes of a select number of our University teams that compete on a national level within BUCS.

 

Presented by Victor Ubogu, Hall of Fame inductee.

 

Well done to Cross Country Men’s, who were selected for a number of incredible achievements:

 

This year, the club have had their most successful year as a team, contributing to the most ever medals by any university at BUCS competitions and in a 150 strong competition. The men’s team this year completed their first ever clean sheet on the podium with Will Barnicoat taking GOLD, Tomer Tarragano Silver and Ollie Smart Bronze achieving Team GOLD in the BUCS Cross Country Long race. The Cross Country Short Team did not disappoint either with Elliot Morgan winning Silver, Sam Burkitt securing Bronze with overall Team Gold. Nine current students have also been selected to compete for GB at European level.

SPORTSPERSON OF THE YEAR

This is the highest individual accolade awarded by the University of Birmingham, in recognition and celebration of the very highest sporting level. 

 

Presented by Deborah Longworth, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Education.

 

The nominees for this prestigious award were:

 

Para-Sport champion Didi Okoh, who is the all-time BUCS points scorer for UoB Athletics, with realistic aims of competing at the upcoming 2024 Paralympic Games.

 

England U21 Hockey captain and UoB Hockey captain Evie Wood, who is currently training with the senior Team GB squad following in the footsteps of the university’s strong hockey alumni.

 

GB Senior Swimmer and triple British Champion, Ollie Morgan who’s two gold medals at the Aquatics CG Championships secured his qualification for the 2024 Olympic Games.

 

GB Senior Athlete and U20 and U23 European Cross Country Champion, Will Barnicoat, who made his senior debut at the World Cross Country Championships in Belgrade, Serbia.

 

Congratulations to Ollie Morgan who secured this years title of Sportsperson of the Year!

Thank you to everybody who attended our evening of celebrations and made it so special! The Sports Awards always serve as an excellent reminder of just how much incredible sport and achievements take place across the year- and raise the bar for next year!

Event photo credits: Mark Assinder

Lachlan Moorhead smiling with commonwealth gold medalCategoriesAnnouncement Student News

CWG Gold Medallist Lachlan Moorhead aims for Paris selection

CWG Gold Medallist Lachlan Moorhead aims for Paris selection

PATHWAY TO PARIS – University of Birmingham Judo scholar, Lachlan Moorhead, focuses on maximising his points in hopes of securing a spot at the Paris Olympics.

Lachlan has been practising Judo since he was just five years old, following in his father’s footsteps. Originally from Penistone where he was coached by his father, he is currently in his final year studying Business Management at the University of Birmingham.

 

When joining the University, Lachlan was awarded an EDCAP scholarship, providing him access to tailored support from the Performance Centre and scholarships team. This has allowed him to balance his Judo commitments alongside his academics.

The highlight of Lachlan’s career so far took place at the Commonwealth Games 2022 held in Birmingham, where he won gold in the 81kg class.

 

In the lead up to the Paris Olympics, Lachlan has committed to an intense competition schedule, travelling to events across the globe in efforts to maximise his points.

 

Next week he will head to the World Judo Championships hosted in Abu Dhabi, providing him with a final opportunity to hit the qualifying points for Paris in the summer.

Lachlan Moorhead at competition

We caught up with Lachlan in the midst of his busy competition schedule. Check out the interview here. 

 

His other achievements include securing bronze medals at the Kaunas European Junior cup and Junior Championships in 2019. Moving into 2021, Lachlan brought home a bronze medal from the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam and became a British Champion at the British Judo Championships, where he won the half-middleweight division.

UoB athlete high jumping over barCategoriesAnnouncement Student News

History made at Athletics BUCS Outdoor Championships

History made at Athletics

BUCS Outdoor Championships

University of Birmingham Athletics Club rounded off a memorable 2023/24 season with even more medals at the BUCS Athletics Championships in Manchester.

Did Okoh smiling on track

Third year law student Didi Okoh won the 60m ambulant race as she moved to the club’s all-time highest individual BUCS points.

 

In her three years studying and competing, she has collection 76 points overtaking Commonwealth Heptathlon Champion and alumna Louise Hazel.

This year’s Outdoors Athletics saw Birmingham eclipse their previous best of 19 medals with 21 medals across all events. The club took 72 athletes (previous best of 65) and came away with 230 BUCS points.

The records kept coming as the Men’s team collected their highest-ever points taking, a club record the women’s 4x 100m team and Abby Ives back-to-back 800m  win means that Birmingham have won this event for the last six years.

Abbie Ives running side shot
Men's race ft Tyler Bilyard

Third year Tyler Bilyard, now holds both indoor and outdoor 1500m titles, with post-grad Jake Matthews and fourth year Craig Moncur both score points in 3 different events

See the teams full results below

 

GOLD 🥇

Didi Okoh, 60m Amb

Will Barnicoat, 5000m

Kimani Jack, High Jump

Orla Brennan, 400 Hurdles

Jake Minshull, 400 Hurdles

Thomas Bridger, Steeplechase

Abbie Ives, 800m

Tyler Bilyard, 1500m

 

SILVER 🥈

Fenton Bishop-Timings, Javelin

Jake Matthews, Shot Put

Tomer Tarragano, 5000m

Amelia Briggs-Goode, 400 Hurdles

Women’s 4x100m

Women’s 4x400m

 

BRONZE🥉

Charlotte Alexander, 10k

James Pratt, Javelin

Izzy Skelton, 400m

Lily Holt, High Jump

Martha Collings, Steeplechase

Elsa Palmer, 1500m

Men’s 4x400m

 

4TH

Sam Clifton, Hammer

Dani Hales, 100m Hurdles

Zoe Hunter, 1500m

 

5TH

Elisha Tait, 10k

Elisha Tait, 5000m

Rachel Wall, Javelin

Zion Ateba, High Jump

 

6TH

Jasmine Wilkins, 60m

Jake Matthews, Discus

Will Sutton, High Jump

Josh Woods, Long Jump

Holly Weedal, 5000m

Emilie Oakden, Pole Vault

Isaac Rothwell, 1500m

Men’s 4x100m

 

7TH

Emelina Darvell, Discus

Toby Cherry, High Jump

Ben Gardiner, 800m

Lottie Dewar, 800m

 

8TH

Finlay Ward, 10k

Rosie Hamilton-James, 10k

Isaac Hirschman-Chandler, 5000m

Craig Moncur, Long Jump

Archie Parkinson, 800m

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!

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.

Man and woman taking part in Hatha Yoga class with hands reaching up to ceilingCategoriesEvents

Prioritising Mental Health and Wellbeing with The BRIT Challenge 2024

Prioritising Mental Health and Wellbeing with the BRIT Challenge 2024

From Saturday 24 February – Sunday 24 March, Sport & Fitness participated in the BRIT Challenge 2024.

The BRIT (British Inspiration Trust) is a charity focusing on supporting and improving mental health, fitness, and wellbeing. We hosted a number of fitness-focused activities for students, staff and members to get involved in, with some challenges shaped around the number ‘24’, this year’s BRIT Challenge theme.

Meditation

 

For those looking to channel their inner zen, we hosted a mix of free self-guided and instructor-led mediation sessions, both in person and online, allowing people to join in from the comfort of their own space!  Meditation is an easy and accessible way to bring a feeling of calm, control and focus to busy life schedules that can often feel overwhelming.

Group in a spin class in cycle studio
Hatha yoga session - participants holding leg up whilst other hand points towards the ceiling

Classes

To make our regular class timetable even more accessible, we reduced costs to £2.40 per session, encouraging members and non-members to engage in physical activity in a fun, social and supportive environment. From intense cardio spin classes and body-attack to gentle Hatha and Kundalini Yoga, there was something for everyone to get involved in.

Badminton social sport

Social Sport

 

During the month we also offered free taster sessions for our popular social sport and sessions, encouraging people to engage in sports they may not have tried before. Sports included basketball, tennis and netball. Participating in sports, regardless of ability level, can help to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety whilst connecting with others.

Cardio Tennis

 

Over on our outdoor courts we promoted our, fast-paced Cardio Tennis sessions, designed to combine hand-eye coordination, physical activity and most importantly – fun! To tie into the BRIT theme, we set a 24-shot rally challenge, keeping our participants on their toes.

Tennis coordinator throwing tennis balls at participants
Active Residences free sport programme showcasing new wheelchair basketball sessions

Active Residences

 

Students who live in University or partner-owned accommodation can benefit from our free student sport and social activities timetable through the Active Residences programme. Alongside the regular timetabled activities including wheelchair basketball, games nights and just run sessions, the team hosted two aesthetic walks around Winterbourne Botanic Garden. Studies prove that walking in nature reduces stress, lifts mood, and promotes overall wellbeing. 

A member in Sport & Fitness gym getting support from a member of the gym team.

240-Hour Fitness Challenge

 

To ramp up our BRIT Challenge efforts further, from Thursday 14 March, we set a challenge for our members to achieve a combined total of 240-hours’ worth of cardio activity across our treadmills, cross-trainers, rowing machines and spin bikes in just ten days. Our members didn’t disappoint, hitting the target in just three days, and finishing with an incredible 296 hours logged by the end of the challenge period, far exceeding our initial target!

Brit challenge CEO Phil Packer, pictured in front of Sport & Fitness Reception

BRIT CEO visits Sport & Fitness

 

Midway through the challenge we had a visit from BRIT Challenge Non-Paid CEO, Phil Packer. It was a pleasure to welcome Phil to our Sport & Fitness Centre, showing him around our facilities whilst discussing the importance of promoting physical activity as a key tool for improving mental health and wellbeing.

It was fantastic to have so many students, staff and community members engage with our BRIT Challenge activities this year. We look forward to putting on even more activities next year, whilst continuing to promote activities that help boost mental health and wellbeing across communities.

Men's and Women's Squash club winners hold trophy and stand behind Champions signCategoriesEvents Student News

Treble for Squash Champions on BUCS Big Wednesday

Treble for Squash Champions on BUCS Big Wednesday

And just like that, another season comes to a close with the annual BUCS Big Wednesday Finals showcase, held in Loughborough, welcoming six teams from the University of Birmingham.

With Football, Water Polo and Hockey also competing, it was our Squash club who led the way on the day to secure their second successive BUCS National Championship.

 

An impressive three-straight 5-0 wins for the Men’s 1s, Women’s 1s and Women’s 2s saw Birmingham remain as the nation’s powerhouse for squash across the UK. 

Women's Squash players in the court
Men's Squash players in court

With the Men’s defeating Heriot-Watt and the Women’s 2 seeing off the challenge of Edinburgh, the treble was secured by Birmingham’s Women’s 1s to mark an incredible achievement for the club. 

 

A special mention must go to our Squash Head Coach Jon Tate for his ongoing dedication, support, and guidance that has helped the club excel this season.

Men's Football on pitch

Elsewhere, the day was kicked off with Men’s 1 Football as they faced Cardiff Metropolitan 2s in the Aldi Men’s National Trophy.

 

After taking the lead early on, both teams went in at half-time level as Cardiff pulled a goal back. But it was late on where Cardiff scored late on to steal a 2-1 win.

The travelling supporter turned their attention to the swimming pool next as Water Polo Men’s 1s battled it out against Leeds Men’s 1 in the Men’s National Trophy.

 

A high-scoring affair was edged by Leeds 11-10 for yet another narrow defeat for our Lions. 

 

Men's Water Polo competing in swimming pool
Women's Hockey competing on the pitch

With a huge crowd cheering on our hockey players, our Women’s 1s faced Nottingham 1s in the ICG Women’s National Championship final.

 

Nottingham led the first-half and following a closely fought battle secured the win adding a second to win 2-0 on the day.

It’s been an incredible season of BUCS action, with victories celebrated every single week.

 

Whether we win, draw or lose, our Lions never fail to bring their fighting spirit to every fixture.

Umpires and the University of Birmingham Performance Team group photo.CategoriesAnnouncement

UoB Sport Performance host Olympic Preparation Camp for Hockey Umpires

UoB Sport Performance host Paris Olympic Preparation Camp for Hockey Umpires.

Earlier this month our Performance Centre team collaborated with the National Programme Umpiring Association to host an Olympic Preparation Camp for four Hockey Umpires who have been selected to officiate the Paris Olympics this summer.

Among the Umpires selected for the Games is UoB Alumna Hannah Harrison (formerly Hannah Sanders), who graduated from the University back in 2006 from the School of Economics.

Luke Gunn, Head of Perfomance delivering presentation to umpires
Four women playing hockey on Sport & Fitness pitches in the rain.

Hannah reflects on how it feels to be selected for the prestigious Olympic Games:

 

‘It really is a dream come true for me, it’s something I’ve worked really hard for the past 15 years to achieve’.

Watch the full interview here

Umpires taking part in a physical activity on mats.

During the camp, our Performance Team delivered content across a number of key areas:

 

Dr Sue Jones (Sports Psychologist) covered the psychological pressures of officiating under the scrutiny of elite teams, crowds and the media.

 

Mike Gosling (Physiokinetic) showcased physical movement screening and biomechanical interventions.

 

David Sheldon (SportExR/UBSport Exercise Physiologist) presented heat acclimatisation and cooling strategies.

 

Luke Gunn, Head of Performance who helped to deliver the camp says:

 

‘We were delighted to be able to assist the NPUA and the wonderful four GB Umpires who will officiate in Paris this summer.

 

Just as the athletes need to be at peak performance at the Olympics, as do all the officials for whom this is also the pinnacle of their sport. We were honoured to be able to share our expertise to aid their preparations.’

The Camp aimed to cover the physical, mental and nutrition aspects required of umpires to ensure they are on optimum form for the Games. Hannah found the content extremely valuable, saying:

 

‘I feel incredibly lucky that the family of the University of Birmingham have welcomed me back, and that I’ve been able to access such great facilities and some real experts’.

Luke presenting content on the board to umpires.
Three women from Rugby team taking diagnostic swab out of packaging, with BBC videographer filming.CategoriesAnnouncement

BBC Sport cover ‘ground-breaking’ concussion research in Women’s Rugby

BBC Sport cover ‘ground-breaking’ concussion research in Women’s Rugby

Last month, we had a visit from BBC Sport and Marker Diagnostics as part of their ongoing research into concussion testing on female Rugby players. Marker Diagnostics is an emerging biotech company that was founded in 2016 following pioneering concussion research conducted at our university.

The test involves a simple mouth swab to collect saliva samples, which can then detect biomarkers for concussion.

Women's Rugby team huddled on the pitch with camera.
Rugby Women swabbing mouth with diagnostic marker.

After collaborating with the Rugby Football Union in the elite men’s competitions last year, Marker is now collaborating with Premiership Women’s Rugby (PWR) to validate the existing test in women, with evidence suggesting that effects of concussion may be more severe in women.

 

BBC Sport Correspondent Katie Gornall interviewed members of our Women’s Rugby Union club during their early morning training session on the pitch. Many members of the club had already taken part in the ground-breaking saliva swab test and noted that the test was ‘easy, quick and efficient.’

Watch the behind-the-scenes clips of the club’s morning with the BBC.

Member of women's rugby team sat on bench for interview with Katie Gornall.

 ‘Being a part of the progression it feels really good, especially seeing the difference between when I started and now. There’s so much input going into it now which is really important for the women’s game’  

Jemima Moss, University of Birmingham Rugby and former Worcester Warriors

Kat Merchant smiling holding Hall of Fame certificate.

As part of the research, BBC Sport also interviewed Former Rugby Union wing and University Alumna Kat Merchant, who last September was inducted into our University of Birmingham Sport Hall of Fame for her incredible achievements across her sporting career.

During her time playing rugby, Kat experienced over 30 concussions, stating:

 

There are some really, really dark times with it, because you don’t know what’s normal any more’.

Watch the BBC Sport Interview.

This highlights the importance of concussion testing within higher-risk sports to help better understand the signs and symptoms. It’s estimated that up to 80% of people experiencing concussions aren’t diagnosed.

Image of sportswomen hugging after a matchCategoriesAnnouncement Student News

Award-winning New Year for University of Birmingham Sport 

Award-winning New Year for University of Birmingham Sport 

University of Birmingham Sport and Sport & Fitness has been recognised by the national governing body for University sport for our excellence in increasing physical activity opportunities for members and students.

American Football on Bournbrook 3G

Awarded with the British Universities & Colleges Sports (BUCS) Physical Activity Excellence Award, this is a huge achievement that celebrates the world-class facilities, coaching and opportunities that sport provides across the campus.

 

With more than 60 University sports clubs, and welcoming professional athletes and recreational clubs and groups from around the world – such as the recent British Junior Open Squash 2024 event in January – Sport & Fitness continues to offer sporting opportunities for all abilities, all year round.

Active Residences free sport programme showcasing new wheelchair basketball sessions
Rugby Union Women's tackling each other.
Athletics squad in relay race on UoB running track
British Junior Open winners stand back to back holding trophies

Sport & Fitness boasts outstanding facilities including two water-based synthetic pitches, all-weather and numerous grass pitches, ten netball/tennis courts, four indoor sports hall arenas, a climbing wall, 50m swimming pool and two-floor gym.

 

Across campus there is also an all-purpose Athletics Track and additional off-campus student-only gym.

The BUCS Physical Activity Excellence Award produces a sector standard for higher education institutions to achieve, that demonstrates good practice in increasing physical activity engagement across its population.

Wide shot of outdoor pitches at night (water based, tennis/netball and Bournbrook 3G)
Munrow arena with spectators for super series basketball.

Chris Anthony, Head of Sport Development at the University of Birmingham, said: “It’s been great to be recognised for the breadth of work that Birmingham does and the opportunities available to our student, staff and community to become – and remain – active with us.

 

With 17 current award holders across the UK, the University of Birmingham is now also eligible to apply for the esteemed ukactive Physical Activity Excellence Award later this year.

Chris pictured holding trophy alongside award. presenter