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World Mental Health Day 2023

WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY 2023

Tuesday 10 October is World Mental Health Day. The World Health Organisation (WHO) states that despite good mental health being vital to our overall health and wellbeing, one in eight people globally are living with mental health conditions. These impact an individual’s physical health, wellbeing and how they connect with others, as well as their livelihoods. Mental health conditions are also affecting an increased number of adolescents and young people in particular.

In line with WHO, the University of Birmingham is committed to ensuring mental health is valued, promoted and protected throughout its communities. We are part of the Government’s Mental Health Mission, designed to develop radical new treatments for mental health conditions and improve the outcomes and care for young people with mental health problems.

From a Sport & Fitness perspective specifically, we not only ensure that a number of our staff are Mental Health and Suicide First Aid trained, but also collectively endeavour to provide ample and varied opportunities for our students, staff and members to access support, and to participate in sport and fitness at any level to improve and/or maintain their overall wellbeing.

In honour of this year’s World Mental Health Day, we caught up with two of our in-house Performance Sport experts that specifically work with the University’s highest performing and elite student-athletes, to gather some guidance and insight to how we can best prioritise and take care of our own mental health this October and beyond, whilst also equipping us with the necessary skills to support those close to us that may, at times, need it.

MEET THE EXPERTS

Dr Sue Jones

University of Birmingham Sport Psychologist

Joanna Eley

University of Birmingham Sport Performance Lifestyle Lead

Sue Says...

“Throughout my work I apply a ‘Person First’ approach. A person’s chosen physical activity is just one piece of their story and identity. Maintaining a healthy relationship with sport is key to long term mental health and wellbeing, but sport rarely follows a linear path to success, so it’s important to focus on the process building, not just outcomes. The scales between performance and wellbeing can change very quickly, so the better you connect with someone’s story, the quicker you can react to those changes and empower them to notice these changes themselves.”

Jo Says...

“While the goal should ideally be to experience high mental health so that individuals can flourish, the majority of people actually just sit somewhere in the moderate mental health scale day-to-day and the main focus tends to be on not experiencing low mental health or mental illness. As a result of this focus, much of the support available tends to be reactive-geared and problem-focused, however the optimum mental health requires a much more proactive approach and an understanding of the different dimensions that can have an impact on your mental health. Being aware of what high mental health looks like for you, the strategies that support that and reducing the barriers to delivering those strategies is something I strive to support high performance individuals achieve.”

Sue and Jo's Top Tips

  1. Journal
    Recognise how you think and behave in positive times so that you can spot any changes in yourself and/or identify any certain triggers for future reference. Journalling is a good way to do this.
  2. Periods of non-ideal mental health are exactly the same as injuries and therefore should be treated as such. That mean you need to adapt your training or usual routine, in order to prioritise and recover.
  3. Be proactive
    Where possible, keep active, maintain balanced eating habits, maintain self-care and hygiene, regulate sleeping habits, be sociable – even in times when you don’t feel fully up to it, these will help to keep the brain and body healthy.
  4. Be self-compassionate
    If you’re finding something hard, it’s probably because it is hard! It’s much easier to process and move through your feeling if you can acknowledge and accept them.
  5. Build your system
    Slowly over time aim to build and maintain day-to-day/week-by-week processes that facilitate the best mental health outcomes for you. This will help you identify stressors and aid you in working how best to create boundaries and strategies that reduce these stressors that contribute to lower mental health.
  6. Talk to others
    The more you talk to others about general things, the easier it will be to seek support for the more difficult topics.
  7. Supporting others
    Practice empathy and validate their experience(s) by being willing to see their perspective, refraining from judgement, accepting how they are feeling and welcoming conversation.

FREE CLASS AT SPORT & FITNESS!

 

To celebrate this year’s World Mental Health Day, Sport & Fitness will be running a FREE Stretch & Relaxation class, taking place 8:30-9:15am in the Dojo.

 

Bookable now via the Sport & Fitness app under ‘Classes’ and open to everyone in the midst of another busy week, we hope this provides the chance for you to take some well-deserved time for yourself.

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

Five Minutes With: Oliver Morgan

Five minutes with: Oliver Morgan

From BUCS medals and breaking UoB Club Records, to completing the backstroke treble at the British Championships and competing for Great Britain against the best in the world, 2023 has been a year to remember for current Sport, Physical Education and Coaching Sciences student and Elite Sport Scholar Ollie Morgan.

Following his incredible debut at the World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka (Japan) in August – in which Ollie placed 9th in both the 100m and 200m backstroke, as well as 5th in the Medley Relay – Ollie has since been identified for further support from British Swimming as part of their World Class Performance Pathway, and secured his place as ‘One to Watch’ going forward.

Ollie Morgan in the pool looking up at the camera. Wearing a swimming hat and goggles.

We caught up with Ollie to hear more about his breakthrough year, how he manages to balance his studies alongside elite sport and what he’s got his sights set on next.

Q: It’s safe to say that the 2022-23 season has been the biggest of your career so far; what do you put this progression and success down to?

 

A: I’ve had a lot of progression whilst being at the University of Birmingham and I think it’s got to come down to the team that we’ve built around me. Whether it be strength & conditioning, Gary [Coach and Head of Swimming at UoB], or through things like physio, sports massage, nutrition, psychology…and being supported to manage my studies alongside swimming this year through being a scholar. The level that we’ve reached has been a lot higher due to the fact that I’ve got that excellent team around me to help support me and my needs.

Q: If you could sum up your debut World Championships’ experience in 3 words, what words would you choose?

 

A: I think I’ve got to go with: AMAZING. It was just an incredible experience to be there and be part of that GB team. I think the next one has got to be MOTIVATING – going there, being so close to making those individual finals and also being so close to making the medals in the relay was so motivating, especially moving into next year when we’ve got the Olympic Games. It’s just going to help motivate me through next season and again if I make another World Championships. Making those finals was a big thing. I think the last word has got to be FUN. It was just such good fun to be out there racing the top guys in the world and to come away with the performances that I did.

Q: As well as the competition itself, what was your experience of Japan whilst you were there?

 

A: Being in Japan for a World Championship was incredible and the country itself was too. It was such a different experience to being over here in the UK, but you know, everyone was so friendly – the local community all came together. For example, when we were in Kagoshima for our camp, they were so welcoming – they gave us loads of free gifts and things and yeah, just welcomed us into the community and hopefully we’ll be able to go back at some point. It really was just incredible.

Q: What – if anything – has changed for you following your performances at the World Championships?

A: Following my performances at the World Championships, nothing really has changed – the mindset is still there. You know, I’m still so hungry to move forward and get back into training. I didn’t really have much time off over summer, I had a maybe a week of no training, but I was just so hungry to get back into it! The main change going forward is the amount of support I now have access to from British Swimming as part of their World Class Performance Programme, which is only going to strengthen my set-up further as they work alongside my University support team.

Q: How do you feel your time at the University of Birmingham so far – and especially your time working with the Performance Centre practitioners as part of your elite sport scholarship – has helped you progress to the level at which you are competing now?

 

A: Being a part of the scholarship program has been so beneficial to me. I think I’ve delved into a lot of support with, you know, physios, S&C, nutrition, psychology, performance lifestyle…everything. I think it’s really helped me move to that next step in my career where now I’m competing on an international stage and representing Great Britain. I think it’s really helped me to have that personalised program and having people around me that can support my needs, and also look into things like injury prevention and what I can do in my diet, for instance, to really boost my performance.

Q: How do you manage to balance your studies alongside training and competing at an elite standard?

 

A: Being a student-athlete at the University of Birmingham has been amazing for me so far and balancing my studies alongside my swimming has been really quite straightforward, if I’m honest. Everyone around me, the course Wellbeing Team as well, have been so supportive and helpful in helping me sort out extensions for if I have competitions on during deadlines and it’s really helped take that pressure off of me and keep myself organised.

Q: What do you love most about being a part of the University’s Swimming Club?

 

A: There are so many things I love about being a part of the University of Birmingham Swim Club. I think one of the main things is the relationship that we all have together and the fact that we turn up to training and have a good time. I don’t think there’s anything better than being able to go to training knowing that it’s going to be fun and you’re going to enjoy it. And the fact that everyone’s there to push themselves and be able to push you to that next level. But also I think the relationship that I have with Gary; how we train and how we push ourselves is really, really good, which I can honestly say has made me the swimmer that I am today.

Q: After such a huge year in terms of your progression, what will you be setting your sights on in 2024?

 

A: Moving forward into next season after a big year of competing, my number one goal is to make the Olympic team. I want to be a part of that team, make my first Olympic Games, and for it to only be in Paris, you know, it’s probably one of the closest we can get to our home games in the future.

 

And I think moving forward as well, I really want to be able to push my limits in the 100/200 and be a part of both of those at the Olympic Games. Hopefully get a medal or even, well, a gold medal in the medley relay with the other guys. To be able to break the British record in the hundred is definitely a big goal of mine too.

What They Said…

From an overall training perspective, the primary goal for Ollie and his team (including Head Coach Gary Humpage, Strength and Conditioning Coach Vasil Todorov, Performance Nutritionist Rachel Chesters, Performance Lifestyle Coach Joanna Eley and Physiotherapist Mike Gosling) was – and continues to be – to improve his overall swimming performance by seeking out small wins available in both his training and lifestyle. The practitioners work closely and collaboratively to ensure every intervention put in place is both relevant and beneficial to Ollie’s performance in the pool.

I worked closely with Ollie both on the run-up to the British Championships and the Worlds. We monitored his weight and body composition to make sure he was hitting the numbers he competes well at and ensuring he didn’t drop to race weight too quickly. Some of his nutrition support was focused around travelling and immunity, but a lot of work was put into ensuring his race day fuelling strategy was optimal for him”Rachel Chesters, UoB Lead Performance Nutritionist

The aim was – and continues to be – to ultimately improve Ollie’s physical capacities to perform better in the water. We achieved this by breaking down the key components of his stroke, to identify strengths and areas for development we could work on within the gym and pool environments. This is an ongoing project – with 2023 being a successful year for Ollie, it is Paris 2024 in which we would hope to see these improvements really show!” – Vasil Todorov, UoB Strength and Conditioning Coach

CategoriesEvents

The IBSA World Games: A Round Up

The IBSA World Games: A Round Up

The University of Birmingham was incredibly proud to host the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) World Games during the last two weeks of August, during which we welcomed over 1250 blind and partially-sighted athletes from 70 countries onto campus. The IBSA World Games are an international multi-sport event that occurs every four years and enables blind and partially-sighted athletes to compete in a number of sports.

As well as welcoming Men’s Blind Football, Women’s Blind Football, Judo, Archery and Showdown onto campus – 5 of the 10 sports! – we also hosted a ‘Give it a Go’ Activation Zone, where people were encouraged to try out a variety of sports throughout the second week of competition.

Judo and Men’s Blind Football, which took place in our Munrow Arena and on the Bournbrook 3G pitches respectively, were particularly hotly-contested events, as they formed part of the qualification process for the 2024 Paralympic Games in Paris.

As the IBSA’s President, Ilgar Rahimov, stated in his speech during the Closing Ceremony, we were fortunate to host and witness “sporting excellence every day”, as participating athletes “excited and inspired the world.”

University of Birmingham Sport thoroughly enjoyed the buzz that The IBSA World Games brought to our facilities and hope that our members and the wider community managed to get involved in some of the action!

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Swim club group photo, wearing new balance kits on red backgroundCategoriesEvents Student News

A Stellar Season For The Swim Club This Summer

A Stellar Season For The Swim Club This Summer

The swimming strokes have been in full force this summer, with students competing in a number of events across the UK and beyond! From the British Swimming Championships and the Island Games, to the World Deaf Swimming Championships and World Aquatic Championships, we are so proud of the Club’s achievements this season.

 

SWIM ENGLAND SUMMER NATIONALS

 

The National Summer Meet is Swim England’s biggest domestic swimming event of the year. Taking place across 2 – 6 August this year, the Summer Meet forms part of a swimming competition structure in Great Britain whereby the top ranked swimmers are invited to compete at the British Swimming Summer Championships.

 

Five students from the Swimming Club competed; Adrian Ting, Ben Newell, San Menzer, Ellie Sibbald and Ella Jenkins. We saw some incredible swims across the five days, with strong performances in both the heats and the finals. 

The squad came away with three club records, two gold medals , one fourth place finish and two top ten finishes. 

A superb way to finish the season that as undoubtedly been the Club’s most successful season ever, with 75 club records set and record high levels of representation and participation at meets of all levels. 

Coach Gary Humpage with arm around swim student Adrian Ting

Coach Gary Humpage (left) and Adrian Ting (right)

WORLD DEAF SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS

 

Earlier this month,Lucy Jordan-Caws headed to Buenos Aires, Argentina, to compete in the sixth World Deaf Swimming Championships. Alongside intensive training, across the summer Lucy spent time fundraising to cover the costs associated with competing. With generous donations from friends, family and organisations including the Rob George Foundation, she successfully met her fundraising target.   

 

Lucy gave it her all against some tough competition, finishing in 6th place in 200m butterfly, 11th in 100m butterfly, 13th in 50m backstroke and 16th in 50m butterfly and setting two personal bests and two season bests in the process. 

 

She will now be focusing her time towards qualifying for the 2025 Deaflympics, which will be held in Tokyo, Japan.

Lucy Jordan-Caws standing infront of World Deaf Swimming Championships board
Lucy Jordan -Caws swimming

OLLIE MORGAN REPRESENTS GREAT BRITAIN IN JAPAN

 

July saw Elite Swimming Scholar, Ollie Morgan, travel to Fukuoka, Japan to represent Great Britain at the World Aquatic Championships.  Ollie has had an incredible season, becoming a x3 British Champion at the British Swimming Championships and becoming the second-fastest British man in history to swim the 50m backstroke earlier this year.

 

Ollie made it all the way to the semi-finals in Japan, securing 9th place in both his 100m backstroke (Olympic A qualifying time) and 200m backstroke (Olympic B qualifying time) – what an incredible result! His next goal is to be selected for the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics.

Close up shot of Ollie Morgan wearing red swim cap and goggles on head
Ollie Morgan pictured swimming mid backstroke, coming up for air

Photo creds: Mines Kasapoglu

The team start back training in September to prepare for BUCS and Swim England Winter Nationals, and long term preparation towards Paris Olympics trials.

Keep up-to-date on the clubs achievements via their  social media.

Georgia standing on the right hand side of large banner promoting Rothesay Classic Tennis eventCategoriesEvents Student News

Love at First Swing: Georgia’s Tennis Journey from Player to Spectator

Love at First Swing: Georgia’s Tennis Journey from Player to Spectator

Recent Business Management graduate, Georgia, really got into playing tennis during her time as a student.

Cloudy day at the priory, with a view of the tennis courts

EMBRACING THE COURT

 

In January, she first decided to try out one of our Cardio Tennis sessions, which involves completing cardio-based circuits whilst hitting tennis balls!

 

After going to a few sessions, Tennis coordinator, Jack, suggested that Georgia should try out the popular Try-a-Sport tennis course, helping her develop her skills week by week. Other than P.E back in school, Georgia hadn’t really engaged in any tennis activity in a while.

Near the end of the term Jack found himself with a spare ticket to the Rothesay Classic Tennis Tournament, taking place at the Priory in Edgbaston – just a short walk from campus! He offered them to Georgia who saw it as a great opportunity to get a glimpse of the action of her new found passion.

spectator view of outdoor tennis court
picture from 'bereal app' with front camera showing georgia smiling for a selfie, and bak camera showing spectator view of the court

FROM THE SIDELINES

 

Georgia went for the afternoon and saw a few matches which she really enjoyed, further inspiring her to keep playing tennis as a graduate.

 

‘I had a great centre court seat and got to see some tough competition, including Katie Boulter, current British Women’s number one.’

Interested in trying out tennis? We have opportunities to play at different ability levels – find the one that works for you!

Fran playing Netball in Vitaly Roses KitCategoriesEvents Student News

Netball World Cup: 5-minutes with Francesca Williams

Netball World Cup: 5-minutes with Francesca Williams

Ahead of England’s first game of the Netball World Cup against Barbados this evening, we sat down with England Goal Defence and UoB Alumni Francesca Williams.

Fran smiling at a fellow Vitaly Roses

Photo creds @bensnapsstuff

Fran has played netball professionally since graduating from the University of Birmingham in 2021 and is part of the recently-crowned Vitality Super League Champions, Loughborough Lightening. During her time at Birmingham, Fran was an invaluable member of the UoB Netball Club Performance Squad and an Elite Sports Scholar.

 

Read on to hear more about how Fran’s time at Birmingham helped to prepare her for life as a full-time, professional netballer, how she managed to balance her Economics degree alongside elite sport, what she enjoyed most about being a student-athlete at UoB and what she’ll be taking into this year’s World Cup from her debut experience in 2019.

 

How do you feel your time at the University of Birmingham helped to prepare you for life as a full-time England Rose?

 

My time at the University of Birmingham, and in particular working with the Performance Centre as part of the scholarship set up there, was huge in terms of the role it played and how it helped me to prepare to become a full-time athlete.

I made the transition from the England pathway onto the Vitality Rose’s full-time programme whilst studying at the university and I think the performance sport support network that the University has set up is something that enabled me to do this so seamlessly – it’s something I’ll always be grateful for. I really feel like the scholarship programme and Performance Centre practitioners helped me understand what it’s like to live and train as a full-time athlete while I was studying, going above and beyond to support me and provide the individualised help that an athlete needs – whether that be on court, in the gym, with your nutrition or managing your dual-career lifestyle.

What did you enjoy most about representing UoB Sport in BUCS?

 

The thing I enjoyed the most about representing the University and being involved in BUCS while I was at Birmingham was the fun that I had with it and the life-long friends I’ve made.

The BUCS Premier League is huge in netball – it’s got athletes from across different super league teams and international programmes, so it’s a really good standard of netball that challenged me to consider other areas away from my usual role on court, ultimately improving my overall game.

BUCS Women's 1 Squad group photo in UoB kit for BUCS

How did you manage to balance your Economics degree with elite-level netball and everything that comes with it?

 

I managed to complete my Economics alongside being a full-time athlete purely because of the flexibility that the Economics department and the Business School gave me.

 

I made the transition to being a full-time athlete whilst I was at the university, so as I started to play netball more regularly, attend more frequent England camps and travel abroad for tournaments, that’s when I decided to split my second year. This is something I didn’t know was even possible until I started discussing options with my scholarship Performance Lifestyle mentor, who offered me support and helped me make that communication between my lecture and coaches to ensure it worked seamlessly.

 

Once I’d built those working relationships, I felt so supported throughout my degree, in terms of when I maybe needed extensions or deadlines or rearranging exams or even sitting exams away from the University. I actually took some exams once on a tour with England Netball, so that flexibility was just massive in ensuring I could keep up both academics and elite sport. All of that wouldn’t have been possible if I didn’t have that support and communication help from the scholarship team.

Fran playing Netball for BUCS

In 2019, you were the youngest player on the England Roses Netball World Cup Squad: what did you learn during that experience that you’ll take with you to South Africa?

 

Although I’m no longer the youngest member of the squad, the experience I had four years ago has definitely made me feel really prepared, confident and ready for what’s to come this summer, especially the intensity of tournament netball. We’re going to play eight games in ten days and knowing what that feels like each day, having to play a completely different style against other international teams, that’s massive.

 

I think it’s also just made me feel really hungry to make even more of an impact on the team in this tournament and see what I can do and push myself to, you know, really strive for more. I think four years ago I was just excited to be there and I couldn’t wait to soak in the environment and enjoy the whole experience. I’ll still do the exact same this summer, but I feel even more ready to step up.

What are you most looking forward to about the 2023 Netball World Cup?

 

Aside from the competition element – because I’m super competitive and can’t wait for that! – the thing I’ll enjoy the most is the fact that it’s in South Africa. It’s really exciting that an African nation is hosting the netball World Cup for the first time, as every time I’ve been to South Africa before they’ve always been amazing hosts and super welcoming and I can’t wait to see what kind of show they put on. And you know, that culture come to life through the way that they put on the World Cup and run the tournament. I think the crowds and the way that everyone’s going to get behind all the teams and as well as support our own team, I think that’s going to be massive.

 

We can’t wait to watch Fran and the rest of the England Roses squad in action over the coming 10 days and wish them all the very best of luck. For those of you that wish to tune in and support from home, all matches will be broadcast live on Sky Sports, with one game per day also available on the Sky Sports YouTube channel and  BBC channels  from Monday 31 July 2023.

Hockey players on pitchCategoriesEvents Student News

Birmingham 2022: A Year On

Birmingham 2022: A Year On

This Friday 28 July 2023 marks the first anniversary of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and a year on from Birmingham hosting the largest sporting event ever to take place in the West Midlands – an achievement within which the University played a huge part.

Squash courts at the Commonwealth Games
Hockey winners posing with medals on hockey pitches

As Official Partner of Birmingham 2022 – the most comprehensive University partnership the Games has ever seen – host of the largest Athletes’ Village and official host of both the Hockey and Squash competitions on campus, the #B2022 legacy is one we are incredibly proud of.

 

To celebrate, we’re taking a brief look back at some of the stand-out achievements from the Games and the enormous part our University campus and community played in making the event the unforgettable success that it was and will always be remembered for.

Game Changing Sport, Game Changing People, Game Changing Legacy.

 

It goes without saying that we are so proud of our community’s achievements during the Games, as well as our immediate UBSport team’s involvement.

 

· Over 500 UoB students, staff and alumni volunteered in different roles, helping to accommodate and support 3500 athletes and officials on campus

 

· 20 UoB baton bearers brought the Queen’s baton home and shared their inspiring stories

 

· More than 2500 staff and contractors were accredited

 

· 20 UoB students and alumni competed at B2022, with 13 medals won:

Cyclist Anna with silver medal around neck, holding up England flag
Yasmin smiling in Judo clothing under the stadium lights

GOLD🏅 Lily Walker, Lily Owsley, Hannah Martin, Flora Peel, Holly Hunt, Anna Toman (Hockey), Lachlan Moorhead (Judo)

 

SILVER🥈 Anna Henderson (Cycling), Non Stanford (Triathlon), Joel Makin (Squash)

 

BRONZE 🥉 Yasmin Javadian (Judo), Rhys Thompson (Judo), Nick Bandurak (Hockey)

Lachlan Moorhead, -81kg Judo Gold Medalist for Team England & current UoB Elite Sport Scholar

 

“The Birmingham Commonwealth Games was incredibly special to me – to win in front of my family and friends meant everything and is something I will never forget. Beating the calibre of opponents I did to win the title gave me the boost and motivation I need, as I now concentrate on qualifying for the Paris 2024 Olympics.”

Dean Miller, Baton Bearer & UoB Athletics Club Endurance Manager

 

“For me, being able to celebrate the Commonwealth Games as a baton bearer in my adopted home-city was a magical and humbling experience. The experience really kicked off the party atmosphere for me, throughout which Birmingham was centre stage. I was, and still am, immensely proud of how the city and the University showcased themselves to the world and hosted a remarkable 2 weeks of sport. I’ll never forget it!”

Image of Dean Miller holding baton in CWG branded tshirt
Lily playing Hockey on the blue astroturf hockey pitch at CWG

Lily Walker, Hockey Gold Medalist for Team England & current UoB Elite Sport Scholar

 

“My biggest achievement to date is winning the Commonwealth Games gold medal here on the University pitch in front of Old Joe and an incredible crowd. Having represented the University on this pitch for five years in both BUCS and the Premier League, to being selected to represent my country in my home city – I have some amazing memories that I will treasure forever.”

Hugh Sproston, Team England Futures’ Team Leader & UoB Sports Scholarship Manager

 

“I volunteered as part of the Team England Futures programme, which ran alongside the Games and provided selected talented young athletes with a ‘behind-the-scenes’ experience. This aimed to inspire and prepare them towards future Major Games and it was my role to ensure each young athlete had the opportunity to make the most of the experience. It was fantastic to see first-hand the influence that Birmingham 2022 had – and will continue to have – on inspiring this country’s next generation of athletes.”

CWG volunteers sat on spectator seats overlooking sports field

To mark this anniversary, Birmingham is celebrating with a FREE 10-day festival, 28 July to 6 August.

As a principal partner for the festival, The University of Birmingham is excited to support the delivery of a packed event schedule at Centenary Square in the city centre, as well as host a number of free exhibitions and public workshops throughout the festival at The Exchange.

Text: BUCS awards shortlist announcedCategoriesEvents Student News

UoB Sport shortlisted for two 2023 BUCS Awards

UoB Sport shortlisted for two 2023 BUCS Awards

The University of Birmingham Sport celebrated making the 2023 BUCS awards shortlist for both the Special Recognition and Diversity and Inclusion categories.

BUCS Awards shortlist- Image of all shortlists for the special recognition awards including Georgia Pexton

This year’s Sports Awards Student Coach of the Year Georgia Pexton (Netball) makes up the final five in line to be named in the Special Recognition awards.

 

This award recognises an individual’s commitment to their club or sports department over their time at university, be it as a player, as a committee member or a volunteer. It is awarded to a final year student who have shown an outstanding contribution either through performance or participation.

 

Georgia has some brilliant achievements under her belt including: coaching for the Netball Women’s 5s team, managing the 6s, and taking 5s to a BUCS League Win, along with BUCS Conference Cup Finals.

Active Residences, which is a sport and exercise programme designed for UoB Students living in the University or part-owned accommodation, has also been shortlisted for an award in the Diversity & Inclusion category.

 

Offering a variety of classes, sports and activities to help support students to engage with sport, a win would mark a second award of the 2022/23 academic year as Active Residencies claimed the Team of Teams Award at the University’s Campus Services Awards.

The winners of the 2023 BUCS Awards will be announced on Thursday 13 July at the ceremony taking place at the University of Leeds.

 

If you’re looking to support Georgia & Active Residences, tickets are still available by clicking the button below!

CategoriesEvents

Swapping the desk for San Diego: Tom to represent Wales

Swapping the desk for San Diego: Tom to represent wales 

Meet Tom Porter, a staff member at the University of Birmingham who this June will represent Wales on the international lacrosse stage.

 

Competing in the World Championships in San Diego, California, he will join 30 of the best teams in the world across 11 days of fixtures.

 

A current Project Manager at the School of Engineering at the University, read his story below….

My Journey to Lacrosse

 

I first picked up a lacrosse stick at Loughborough University in 2013 having never previously heard of the sport. I found that I had a natural fit for the defensive position, and I played for 2 seasons during my time at Loughborough. However, upon graduating due to the lack of lacrosse in the Midlands at the time I left the sport for a couple of years. In 2018 I was part of a group of people who gathered in Nuneaton to see if it was possible to form a local lacrosse club.

 

This group of people would go on to become some of my best friends and we formed Nuneaton Lacrosse Club which now thrives with 2 men’s teams and a women’s team. I fulfil the role as the Club Captain at Nuneaton Lacrosse Club, and I am incredibly proud of the work we do to promote the sport in the Midlands.

My Journey to Wales

 

During 2018 the previous World Championships were held in Netanya, Israel. At the time a friend managed to secure a spot on the Wales Lacrosse team for those championships.

 

This ignited my desire to try out for my Country. In late 2018 I attended open trials for Wales Lacrosse and was successful at my first attempt in breaking into the Wales squad as a defender. I was a member of the Wales team that attended the Home Internationals tournament in 2019 and won that title beating England & Scotland.

I was then again successful in being selected for what we all thought was going to be the 2020 European Championships. However, Covid-19 had other plans and these games were postponed. It was a significantly challenging time, Wales Lacrosse is recognised as an elite sport by Sport Wales so we were able to continue training as lockdowns eased, but there was huge commitments to home workouts and Zoom meetings with teammates.

 

Finally in 2022 these games were rescheduled, and I went to the European Lacrosse Qualification Tournament in Poland. Wales won all 5 of our games in Poland and were the first European nation to earn their qualification spot at the World Championships. At this tournament I also scored my first points for Wales recording a goal and 2 assists across our games. During 2023 I have again represented Wales at the Home Internationals tournament, recording a victory against Scotland and narrowly loosing out on the title against England.

Now the Welsh team are on their way to the World Championships in San Diego, California. Where we will compete against 30 of the best teams in the world. Across 11 days of competition, we will face a tough Group B draw which sees Wales take on Uganda, France, Denmark & number 6 in the world ranked Japan. The top 2 countries from this group will carry on with chances to take the overall title of World Champions.

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Meet Our Members: Katie Mole, Rowing Regatta Medallist

Meet Our Members: Katie Mole, Rowing Regatta Medallist

Rowing club member and full-time postgraduate medical student, Katie, Mole, recently saw saw incredible success after being selected to represent Great Britain at the May International Wedau Regatta in Duisburg, Germany!

Katie competed in the Senior Women’s Double Sculls category and secured a silver and bronze medal over the two days of the competition. She competed alongside athlete Rebecca Wilde for the first time, after being on the same development programme for a number of years.  After returning to full-time study over the last nine months, she had to work incredibly hard balancing her academics alongside club and gym training. We caught up with her to learn more about her impressive schedule.

Katie Mole (left) and Rebecca Wilde (right)

What does a typical day look like for you?

 

Typically, my day begins bright and early at 06:00am, heading to the gym to train on the rowing machine with the University Boat Club. Following this, I study in the medical school for most of the day, from 09:00am-05:00pm. I then head back to the gym for a weights or cardio session before going home to finish the day by refuelling and completing any university work at home.

 How do you stay motivated to stick to your schedule?

 

Although this is a pretty gruelling schedule, it’s made easier by how friendly the gym staff are at Sport and Fitness. I’m always greeted by a friendly face or an interested question about how my training is going.

Who have been key supporters in your journey?

 

In particular, Joe Blacker has gone above and beyond to help me with my strength and conditioning work, taking on the role of a fantastic coach, and getting me to the strongest I’ve ever been, which was instrumental in facilitating my selection for international racing. I also owe a big thanks to the other athletes and coaches in the boat club for their continued support. Having enjoyed my first experience of racing in GB kit I’m excited to continue to improve and see what’s in store for the rest of the season and beyond.

 

Katie will also be racing at Henley Regatta at the end June which is one of the most prestigious rowing events, where she hopes to see even more successes!

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