Lora Fachie and Penny Briscoe at the Sport Hall of Fame 2023 awardsCategoriesAnnouncement

Sport Hall of Famers heading to Paris Paralympics

Sport Hall of Famers heading to Paris Paralympics

PATHWAY TO PARIS – University of Birmingham Sport Hall of Fame inductees Penny Briscoe OBE and Lora Fachie OBE will play their role in ensuring success at next month’s Paralympics 2024. 


Following the inaugural launch of the University of Birmingham Sport Hall of Fame last year, two of our inductees will be doing all they can to ensure that Team GB come back with plenty of medals at this year’s Paralympics.


Penny Briscoe OBE continues her role as Paralympic Team GB’s Chef de Mission, a position she has held since 2014 as well as being the Director of Sport for the team.


As Paralympic GB’s most successful ever Chef de Mission, Penny has facilitated an environment in which both athletes and staff can thrive, and ensured that para-sport continues to develop nationally and internationally.


Fellow Hall of Famer Lora Fachie OBE is also on her way to Paris, as the two-time Paralympic Games’ Pursuit Champion and multiple Para-Cycling World Championships medallist joins the Para Cycle team once again.


Winning gold four years ago in Tokyo, she will be hoping once again to secure a podium spot as she continues to build an incredible legacy as a true Paralympic great.


The Paralympics in Paris this year will get underway on Wednesday 28 August following the conclusion of the Olympics, and marks the first time that France has ever hosted a Paralympic Games.


With more than 20 events taking place, 125 countries will be represented on the world stage with the Games coming to a close on Sunday 8 September.


Bell beat Muir to secure Olympic spot

Bell beat Muir to secure Olympic spot

PATHWAY TO PARIS – Middle-distance runner and alumna Georgia Bell secured her Team GB spot at the UK Championships in June by running an impressive 4:10.69 to Muir’s 4:11.59.


Bell spent several years away from running and working a demanding full-time job, so after becoming British indoor 1500m champion earlier in the year, finishing fourth at the World Indoors in March, and taking silver in the European Indoors in Rome last month, Bell seems to be on an impressive upwards trajectory. She told Runner’s World that she doesn’t take her success for granted:





‘I go into every race thinking I want to grab every opportunity, not taking anything for granted, and I’m not afraid – I’ll just go for it and whatever happens, happens.’

The National Champion will compete in the 1500m at her debut Olympic Games.

Josh O'Brien and Annie Caddick Para Rowing teamCategoriesAnnouncement

Paris Paralympics rowing dreams a reality

Paris Paralympics rowing dreams a reality

PATHWAY TO PARIS – Alumni Annie Caddick and Josh O’Brien (Economics) have been selected to represent Team GB at the Paralympics in Paris this summer. 

Both Josh and Annie started rowing in their second year of university, and Annie did so as the inclusivity of the sport, club and teammates appealed to her and made her feel equal, rather than focusing on her cerebral palsy. Annie achieved her Paralympic qualification at the 2023 European Championships where she won bronze, was crowned European Champion in 2024, and will compete in the PR3 mixed double sculls in Paris.

Josh, who started rowing as an alternative to football following an injury, made his GB Rowing debut at the European Championships 2024, taking home the gold. He announced his selection as part of the PR3 mixed coxed four on Instagram earlier this month, crediting the University of Birmingham rowing club for making his dream a reality.

‘Being officially selected to represent Great Britain at Paris 2024 in the PR3 mix4+is a dream come true. Without the help of University of Birmingham rowing club and Mosley Boat Club none of this would have been possible, thank you.’

Ollie Armstrong Athletics Canada Lead Physiologist #PathwayToParisCategoriesAnnouncement

The team behind the team at Paris: alumnus Ollie Armstrong

The team behind the team at Paris: alumnus Ollie Armstrong

PATHWAY TO PARIS – Sport & Exercise Science alumnus and former staff-member Ollie Armstrong will take the role as Lead Physiologist for Canadian Athletics at this summer’s sporting event.


Ollie has Birmingham in his blood, having done both his undergraduate and Masters degrees on campus and then coming back as a staff member for six years before happening on a job role with Canadian Cycling that eventually gave him a pathway to Paris. Now working for Athletics Canada, Ollie will be working with both the Olympic and Paralympic squads at the Games, and says it’s been an exciting dream come true.


‘It’s pretty surreal [to be involved in the Olympics]… It’s been a dream of mine since I was a kid and to follow it through all the way, and do a degree and a Masters and then 12 years working in professional sport, to get to a moment to support athletes all the way through to a Games is pretty special.’

As Lead Physiologist, Ollie works with the athletes on strategies for things such as helping with the acclimation to the heat and cooling, and building common ground and relationships in a way athletes can take on board and turn it into something that means something to them – like winning medals.

Ollie was the Lead Physiologist for UoB Sport & Fitness and says his time at Birmingham was both wonderful and challenging, and helped shape the direction he was going to move in.

‘I’ve worked with different athletes across lots of sports, and this exposure has really shaped my thinking, how I approach things, how I practise, and I’ve worked with so many talented athletes and coaches and practitioners – it’s opened so many doors.’

Ollie is also working alongside fellow alumnus Simon Nathan, a Birmingham graduate who is now the High Performance Director for Athletics Canada.

New Balance logo next to UoB Sport & FitnessCategoriesStudent News

Time for a new look: New Balance x UoB


This year saw the University of Birmingham kit project being taken on by New Balance, a multi-year partnership for the supply of all our playing kit, training wear, leisurewear and sport staff uniform. This was an incredibly exciting step for the University – not only were we able to bring this global brand to our students, but it meant a new look, especially for the teamwear. 

Traditionally, our gold lion directly from the University crest has been synonymous with Sport, and this very much still plays a part in our identity – our teams, athletes and participants are Birmingham Lions, and we are extremely proud of being part of that Pride. But, when this opportunity presented itself, we knew it was time to design a kit that felt representative of everyone on campus – however sporty or not you are. Because we are one community, and we wanted to create a kit that connected the whole campus, and everyone who is a part of it.


It was important to us to honour the history of the red from the University crest for the teamwear, ensuring our players can stand out proudly on game days. But how to ensure that people would want to be a part of the community and don the kit, even if they weren’t competing?


After a number of ideas and designs, working with elements like the lion, the University skyline, and Old Joe, it was clear that one iconic building stood out and was a fondly-regarded symbol of the campus – our clock tower. As any UoB alumni will proudly attest, Old Joe – named after Joseph Chamberlain, the first Chancellor – is the tallest free-standing clocktower in the world, and will probably be the first thing people say when offering facts about the University’s story.


This is how the patterned design on our teamwear came to be. A geometric representation of the clock face is repeated across the bottom half of our kit – in a subtle nod to our campus.

For those not playing for a club, a leisurewear range – comfortable loungewear to wear anywhere – is also in the pipeline. Stay tuned – we will be announcing when this is available to buy soon!

We are excited to be working with their product design team on other projects, focusing on specific designs for key underrepresented groups. All in all, it’s a very exciting time to be part of the Pride and we are delighted to be partnering with this global brand.