50th Anniversary of Student Rugby League

Rugby League team picture with trophy

50 years ago, students here at the University of Leeds founded the first student rugby league team and convinced university authorities to recognise rugby league as an official sport. Half a century later there are more than 70 student rugby league clubs across the country.

To celebrate this momentous anniversary, Leeds Sport hosted a week of events including an ‘old boys’ alumni fixture and a dinner in terrace with the unveiling of a commemorative plaque in Old Bar to mark the occasion.

Leeds Rhino’s superstar Stevie Ward visited Leeds University Union and gave an inspiring talk about the mental and physical challenges involved with playing professional sport as well as speaking out about his ‘Mantality‘ magazine which is aimed at young sports players.

To culminate a week of celebrations a brand new event took place on Friday; the Rugby League Yorkshire Varsity. The current university team took on a ‘Best of Yorkshire’ students side made up of students from the universities of Bradford, Hull, Huddersfield, Leeds Trinity, Sheffield Hallam, Sheffield and York.

The evening proved to be a huge success with over 450 students from Leeds and the other participating universities attending the game as well as a number of Leeds Rhino’s supporters who came down early to watch the fixture. The fixture was played as a curtain raiser to the Leeds Rhino’s v Wakefield Trinity game and The University of Leeds came back from being 18 -4 down in the first half to achieve an impressive 36-24 victory. Freestyle dance opened the event with a fantastic routine, and we also saw George the Gryphon take to the pitch side.

To see pictures from the event, head to our Leeds Sport Facebook page where you’ll find a Yorkshire Varsity album.

 

University Official Sponsor of Leeds Sports Awards

University of Leeds Sponsor Leeds Sports awards

We are proud to be sponsoring the Club/Team Performance Award at this years Leeds Sport Awards. 

2016 has been a great year for Leeds’ sporting legends and University of Leeds Alumni, from the Olympics in Rio, all the way back home to the inaugural Columbia Threadneedle World Triathlon here in Leeds. The year is certainly something to be celebrated, recognising all of our talented sports heroes, from the medal winners to their coaches, all the future achievers Leeds has to offer and everything in between.

To celebrate the year of success, the Leeds Sports Awards brought to you by Sport Leeds, will commemorate all things sport, and all things Leeds in one fantastic evening at the iconic first direct arena.

As part of this spectacular event the University is proud to sponsor the Club/Team Performance Award which has three finalists:

We also have a number of University of Leeds students and alumni who are finalists at the awards.

  • Paralympic Table Tennis star, Kim Daybell – (Special Contribution – Student Sport)
  • University of Leeds Hiking and Orienteering Club committee member and volunteer, James Nicholson – (Special Contribution – Student Sport)
  • University of Leeds Women’s Hockey Club – (Special Contribution – Student Sport)
  • Alistair Brownlee – (Senior Achievers – Sportsman of the Year)
  • Jonny Brownlee – (Senior Achievers – Sportsman of the Year)

Good Luck to all our finalists!

Follow all the action at the awards on the 7th March from our Leeds Sport Twitter account. 

Students Selected to Represent England

Weetwood Arial View

Congratulations to all of our talented athletes at the University of Leeds who have been selected as part of the English Universities National Squads for 2017.

The English Universities Programme works to develop talent and selects top athletes from universities across the country to make up a national squad to represent England in the University Home Nations.

Nine athletes from the University of Leeds will now represent the English Universities Team at the Home Nations Tournament on the 10th – 13th April 2017 at Edinburgh University.

Name Sport
Justin Brown Men’s Hockey
Carlos Hollyman Men’s Hockey
Sam Apoola Men’s Hockey
Katie Hopkisson Women’s Hockey
Lara Knowles Women’s Hockey
Charlotte Evans Women’s Hockey
Francesca Houghton Women’s Hockey
Bethan Davies Women’s Football
Rachel Newborough Women’s Football

Good luck to everyone taking part!

 

World Book Day Inspirations

books in a library

World Book Day is all about celebrating what you’ve been reading and encouraging us all to pick up a book. That’s why our Uni Girls Can team have joined up with the Get Out, Get Active ladies to share some of their favourite books!

 

books on a shelf Recent research discovered young girls are increasingly viewing themselves as less confident and capable compared to young boys. Leading experts have suggested that one great way to get young girls to feel empowered is through inspiring literature that encourages them to be proactive and confident. This is why we think reading is so important, so go out and pick up a book today, perhaps one of our favourites!

 

Another great source of book recommendations comes from Emma Watson who is truly leading the way as an international, inspirational woman through her work with the UN. She’s created a fantastic book community group, Our Shared Shelf, where she picks monthly books for women to read with a real range of genres.

Pick up that book today and feel inspired!

 

Our Favourite Books

Olivia (Uni Girls Can Activator)

One of Olivia’s favourite books is How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran.

It’s funny, witty and so very relatable. Moran does not beat around the bush as she delves into all the aspects, expectations and stereotypes of being a woman. Most of all she encourages women to be proactive, confident and happy. One of my favourite moments is when she tells you to stand on a chair and declare yourself a feminist. What’s not fantastically crazy about that? She also showcased her own insecurities when she was younger, and that vulnerability made me really connect”.

Olivia UGC activator

 

Sarah (Uni Girls Can Activator)

One of Sarah’s favourite books series is the Abhorsen Trilogy by Garth Nix.

There are just so many layers to them and the detail is so high, it’s a totally different world. I would absolutely die if they made movies out of them but they probably couldn’t do them justice. They are very fantasy – magically, but I love that, coming to think of it, I think in each of the three main books the main character is a heroine, which might be why I liked them so much.”

Jennie (GOGA – Walking Activator)

One of Jennie’s favourite books is Eat, Sweat and Play by Anna Kessel.

“It changes the whole view of women in sport, and it looks at sports at a different perspective from what society is trying to make it. Sport is sport, an empowering action, not a fashionable insta hashtag”.

Jennie GOGA activator

 

Antonia (GOGA – Walking Activator)

Antonia’s favourite book is The Brothers Lionheart by Astrid Lindgren.

I was inspired by the heroism of the younger brother in overcoming his fears and fighting for those he loves.”

Louise (GOGA – Climbing Activator)

Louise’s favourite books are the His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman.

“The main character is feisty, brave and adventurous girl called Lyra.

What’s not to love about a go-getter female?”

Heather (GOGA – Running Activator)

One of Heather’s favourite books is Bridget Jones by Helen Fielding.

“A strong and sassy female who reminds me it’s OK to not fit societal norms or expectations. She shows that there is always fun to be had in life and that it is never too late to mix things up a bit”.

heather activator

Learn more about Get Out, Get Active and Uni Girls Can on our webpages.

Students Help Clinch National League Status

players playing hockey at Sports PArk Weetwood at the University of Leeds

Photo from Malcolm Rogers

Leeds Hockey Club Men’s first team has gained promotion into the National League with five games still left to play.

In  2014 The University of Leeds Hockey Club merged with Leeds Hockey Club and Leeds Becket University Hockey Club in a ground-breaking partnership.

The aim of this merger was to give the city of Leeds it’s first men’s National League side by combining the best players together in to one team, and using the top class facilities at the University of Leeds’ flagship outdoor site, Sports Park Weetwood.

This forward thinking has paid off and just 3 years after the partnership was formed Leeds Hockey Club have secured promotion into the National League with a 3-1 win over Wakefield Hockey Club.

A number of University of Leeds staff and students have been instrumental in achieving this national status, with ten University students playing in the team through the season alongside two members of staff and two alumni.

University of Leeds Players 
Students Staff Alumni
Savvas Hadjigeorgiou Carl Smith (Head of Hockey) Daniel Mills
Josh Mailing David Bond (Performance Sport Manager) Tom Precious
Will Kenney-Herbert
Justin Brown
Sam Apoola
George Wilkinson
Carlos Dolado-Hollyman
Alex Hayes
Matt Budd
Sam Lines

University of Leeds staff member Gawaine Mackenzie-Hogg, (operations manager at Sports Park Weetwood) and performance director at Leeds Hockey Club has also been instrumental in this achievement and driving the partnership forward in the city. Gawaine has overseen the use of the facilities at Sports Park Weetwood where over £1m has been spent on Hockey facilities by the University over the past three years, including a brand new water-based pitch completed in 2016.

This brilliant achievement cements the University of Leeds as a top sporting University, giving students the opportunity to play at a national level.

 

Girl Power!

UGC girl power event

Coming to you as part of International Women’s week, the Uni Girls Can team aim to unite women by combining colour, pattern, jogging and of course cake!

This new event, open to everyone in Leeds follows on from last years hugely successful Catwalk Run, the Uni Girls Can Girl Power event promises to be a social, fun and energising evening. Join us in your brightest gym wear for face painting and a warm up, followed by a led run around the city and local area, and finish with a well deserved cake!

You can choose between three different length runs at a pace to suit you so there is something for everyone.

group of girls chatting and laughing

Event Information

  • Date: Tuesday 7th March
  • Time: 5.15pm for facepainting and warm up
  • Venue: meet at Cromer Terrace Studios
  • Cost: £4.00

Face painting will be free before the event and everyone who takes part will get free cake and a drink afterwards.

All proceeds from this event will go towards our Gryphons Abroad project, to purchase a bike for young women in South Africa to help them get to and from school.

 

 

 

 

 

Student Success at BUCS Nationals

Performance

British University and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Nationals returned to Sheffield this weekend and saw 125 students from the University of Leeds compete across 8 sports.

Saturday saw our women’s climbers Holly Murray and Phoebe Blackney take 9th and 10th places respectively, out of a field of 131 competitors.

Judo cleaned up the medals in the individual categories with Matthew Lenney taking Bronze, Gianluca Guerriero Silver and Cian Grace taking Gold. Whilst in Karate, Dario Fernandez Ainaga took Bronze in the Male Intermediate kata.

Over in the swimming, the competition was incredibly tough with big names such as Rio Olympian Max Litchfield and University of Leeds Alumni and Paralympian Claire Cashmore competing. However that didn’t stop the Gryphons as Claire Collins reached the final and placed 6th in the women’s 200m IM and both University of Leeds medley teams made the 400m finals with women claiming 8th and the men 9th.

Sunday brought us the athletics final with a number of results for Leeds athletes. In field, Christine Nick took 7th in the shot put, and Anna short narrowly missed out on a medal in the long jump following a tie in 3rd position. Unfortunately her competitor beat her to the bronze scoring higher with her next best jump, but Anna did achieve a new PB with a jump of 5.76m. On the track, John Ashcroft claimed 6th position in the 1500m final, and after a fantastic turn of speed on the back straight, Will Snook ran his way to a Silver medal in the mens 800m.

Also on Sunday, Leeds athletes impressed in the trampolining finals. Abbey Boyle achieved 10th out of 38 in the BUCS 1 competition, and Club president Tara Wales stamped her mark placing 15th out of 54 in BUCS 2. Harry Sharman finished the day on a high claiming 2nd place in the mens BUCS 3A competition.

A huge congratulations to all students who participated in BUCS Nationals and represented the University Leeds. A full list of results can be found here.

 

Brand New Varsity Event Comes to Leeds

On Friday 17th March, our Rugby League team will go head to head with a side made up of the best rugby league players from universities across Yorkshire in order to be crowned Yorkshire Varsity champions.

This year, we’re celebrating the 50th anniversary of student rugby league, which originated here at the University of Leeds, with a week of events culminating with our brand new Yorkshire Varsity event. This will see the Leeds Gryphons take on the ‘Best of Yorkshire’ at Headingley Carnegie Stadium as a curtain raiser to the Leeds Rhino’s vs Wakefield Trinity Super League fixture.

As the event falls on St Patrick’s day, there will be facepaints, irish dancing, and plenty of pre-match and half-time entertainment. Finish the night off at Leeds University Union for a St Patrick’s day fruity, our official Yorkshire Varsity after party.

Get involved:

Tickets for students cost only £13 and include entry to both the Yorkshire Varsity game and Leeds Rhino’s Super League fixture, plus a free drink voucher. Tickets are for the South Stand, the standing terrace along the side of the pitch, undercover, providing a great atmosphere for St Patricks day.

To purchase your tickets, visit the Leeds University Union helpdesk, call 0371 423 1315, or visit the Leeds Rugby Store at Headingley Carnegie Stadium.

To book online, head to the Leeds Rhinos website and follow these steps:

  • Go to the Rhinos v Wakefield match on the home games page
  • Select South Stand Student ticket and proceed to checkout
  • Input the promotional code varleeds to redeem this offer
Fruity Early Bird Tickets:
With the hotly anticipated St Patrick’s Fruity sure to be a sell out, we’ve got 40 discounted tickets left to sell alongside the Rugby League Yorkshire Varsity tickets. These are available from LUU helpdesk. 

Please note all bookings are subject to a £1.50 booking fee and when booking online please DO NOT select the ‘Print @ Home’ option as it will not generate your free drink voucher.

University’s lasting tribute to Olympic-winning Brownlees

Brownlee brothers sat on machinery with building in background

A new £5m University of Leeds sports facility is to be named after its most successful alumni athletes, Olympic heroes Alistair and Jonny Brownlee.

The Brownlee Centre sits alongside a new 1 mile (1.6km) cycle circuit – one of the longest in the country –  at the University’s Bodington playing fields in north Leeds.

The unique centre, which opens in April, is the UK’s first purpose-built triathlon training base and will provide the first permanent home for the world-beating Leeds Triathlon Centre.

Combining a strength and conditioning training suite, physiotherapy, medical and other support services with one of the longest cycle circuits in the country, this new world-class development will enhance facilities for both cycling and triathlon in the region.

Partnership funding from Sport England, UK Sport, British Cycling and British Triathlon is contributing £1million to the project, with the remaining funding provided by the University.

“This is a real honour,” said Alistair Brownlee, “Having the UK’s first purpose-built triathlon centre in Leeds will ensure that the city continues to be a hub for triathlon. It brings together the facilities top athletes need in one place to create a world class training environment. It is a real boost for both participation and elite sport in the area and will hopefully help the next generation of Leeds athletes on their journey to Olympic success”

Alistair studied Sports Science and Physiology at Leeds and won gold in the triathlon competition at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

His brother Jonny, who took silver in August, added: “We can’t wait to bring our bikes up here and try it. The track is a great addition to Yorkshire’s cycling facilities and will benefit cyclists and other sportsmen and women of all abilities.
“We’re both really pleased to continue our relationship with the University and I hope that what we’ve achieved can inspire everyone who uses the facilities to try their hardest, whether it’s in competitive sport or in building confidence on two wheels.”

brownlee brothers on tarmac machine

Vice-Chancellor Sir Alan Langlands, said: “The University is extremely proud of Alistair and Jonny’s achievements and it is fitting that this unique world-class facility, which will inspire thousands of people to be more active, is to be named after two of our most successful sportsmen.
“Our graduates have dominated top level triathlon and cycling at various events, an achievement which everyone in Leeds can be proud of. Opening The Brownlee Centre and new cycle circuit reinforces our vision of becoming the number one provider of higher education sport and physical activity experience in the UK.”

At last year’s Rio 2016 Olympic Games, all three of the men’s triathlon team were Leeds alumni, with Gordon Benson joining the medal-winning Brownlee brothers. The University is one of the UK’s leading sports institutions, with the Brownlees following in the footsteps of a number of Olympic champions.

Suzanne Glavin, Head of Sport and Physical Activity at the University, said: “We’re really pleased to acknowledge the fantastic sporting success of the Brownlees in such a practical, permanent way.
“We are so proud of Alistair and Jonny and of their continuing relationship with the University – from regular training at our facilities, to the inspiration they provide students, staff and members of the public alike with their achievements.
“We are also pleased to have played a part in their success by providing excellent training facilities and by tailoring their degrees to allow time to prepare and compete.
“The facility they are putting their name to represents a success story for cycling and triathlon in Leeds and beyond. It will ensure athletes of all abilities have some of the best facilities in the UK available close to home.”

The 6 metre-wide circuit will provide a traffic-free environment for cyclists of all ages and abilities – including University students, staff and the wider community – for recreation, coaching and competition.

Jonny Clay, British Cycling’s Director of Cycling, said: “Leeds – and the wider West Yorkshire region – has produced countless successful elite sportspeople over the years, and one of British Cycling’s key aims has always been to ensure that elite success translates into mass participation, and that those inspired by Britain’s finest cyclists have high quality facilities at which to develop their own skills and confidence on a bike.

This new cycle circuit will deliver exactly that for the people of Leeds, and we look forward to seeing locals, regardless of age, ability or previous level of experience on a bike, take advantage of the facility once it is open.”

Four of the six Team GB Rio games triathlon competitors – including the Brownlees’ fellow University of Leeds alumnus Gordon Benson – will be based at the new facilities.
Bodington Playing Fields are no stranger to elite athletes, having hosted numerous national standard cross country competitions. Its running routes are also used weekly by Leeds Triathlon Centre’s elite training squad, which includes the Brownlees. The site will also continue to be used for grass sports including football and rugby. The next phase of development will see three additional grass pitches, with work scheduled for completion in September 2017.

 
The University has invested over £25m in new sports facilities over the past 10 years and these improvements complement nearby Sports Park Weetwood, the University’s flagship 100-acre facility used by students and members of the community for hockey, football, rugby, cricket, lacrosse, American football and more.

 

Find ouit more about the development on our campus developments website. 

If you have any questions about this story please contact Tilly Hall: n.c.hall@leeds.ac.uk, 0113 343 7525.

Get Out, Get Active parkrun success

The Get Out, Get Active team were up bright and early this Saturday morning volunteering at the Woodhouse Moor parkrun, encouraging students and staff to get moving this January.

parkrun have taken over Saturday mornings across the UK by organising free, weekly, 5km timed runs. They are inclusive to all, whether you’re a keen runner or just looking for a way get active, everyone is welcome.

The University was involved with the creation of the Woodhouse Moor parkrun back in 2007, and has since worked together to offer volunteering opportunities to Gryphon leadership students and more recently allowed all students and staff to get involved with the record breaking Leeds Varsity parkrun.

Our Get Out, Get Active (GOGA) team organised a ‘parkrun takeover’ this January to get more students and staff involved with this fantastic movement. The event proved to be a huge success with 436 runners taking part in the event despite the wet weather. Volunteers helped the event run smoothly by assisting with setting up the course as well as baking cakes for all participants as a tasty reward for finishing the run. George the Gryphon, our trusty mascot, enjoyed his first ever parkrun which proved to be a hit with the runners.

The Uni Girls Can team also got involved and helped the GOGA team promote the next fun running event coming to Leeds; Colour Run taking place on the 30th April on the University of Leeds campus.

GOGA running activator, Heather Goodacre said:

“We had a great day interacting with the local community and it was fantastic to see so many people getting out and active so early on a Saturday morning whether that be walking, jogging or running.”

A huge thank you to parkrun for allowing us get involved. parkrun takes place every Saturday morning at 9am and anyone can take part, find out more and sign up here.