News for home page. The latest four new stories will be displayed in date order.

New Varsity Event

Each year Leeds Varsity gets bigger and better, like last year when the rugby finale reached a record breaking attendance of 14,232.

As much as we love the climatic rugby fixture, we also know that Varsity is about more than the finale. We have over 60 fixtures across over 25 sports in just one day making it an incredibly unique event. With this in mind, to make this year even greater, we’ve added in a brand new event – The Netball Varsity Opener.

woman about to throw netball

On Tuesday the 4th October, our University of Leeds Netball first team will journey over to the Leeds Beckett Sports Arena where they will go head to head with Leeds Beckett first team in a fierce battle for that all important Varsity point.

The game will begin at 7.30pm making this the first ever 24 hour varsity. Doors will open at 6.30pm, with refreshments available in the fanzone and pre-game and half-time entertainment from both Universities dance and cheer teams, this is an event not to miss.

“It’s an honour and a privilege to be the captain of such a special & prestigious club. It’s my 3rd varsity and its such an enjoyable event. All the club have been training extremely hard throughout pre-season and the atmosphere and excitement is building the closer it gets.”

Club Captain Beth Horridge


Tickets are available to purchase online now and cost only £2.


If you would like any more information on Leeds Varsity please head to our website or follow us on social media @leedsvarsity and Leeds Varsity – Uni Fans.

Social League teams get free facility access!

Social Sport

Over the past couple of years, following your feedback and the new sport and physical activity strategy, we’ve been working hard to reduce the cost of participating in sport at Leeds with the ultimate aim of improving your student experience.

As a result of this work the University will be contributing additional hundreds of thousands of pounds to reduce the cost of participating in sport to each student. As a part of this work Social League student participants will receive free facility access for their fixtures and training, meaning there is no need to purchase a Sports Pass to access facilities.

Eligible Leagues

All leagues that are eligible for this free access are;

  • 11 a-side Football
  • Netball
  • Small Sided Hockey
  • 5 a-side Football (unofficiated)

Free Entry Fee for Powerleague

We have removed the £25 team entry fee associated with our 5 a-side and 7 a-side Powerleague Leagues (either held at The Edge or at the Powerleague centre). The only cost associated to these fixtures will be the Powerleague set £32 per week per team for guaranteed games, referees and fixtures.

Find out more about the new Leeds Sport Fund and view our FAQ’s online here.


Staying Fit and Healthy
Stay on top of your health and fitness this academic year with an Edge membership to enjoy fantastic facilities including the swimming pool, fitness suite and exercise class programme.

Hurry! Annual online Edge memberships currently have £20 off during August and you will be entered into a prize draw to win one of five Fitbits, get yours here now:


Casual Sport Access
If you are not interested in the gym, pool or classes but do want to access sports facilities generally or outside of your club sessions e.g. casual squash, badminton, 5 a-side, basketball bookings or climbing sessions then you can still purchase a Sports Pass.


This exciting new change is all part of our commitment to reducing the cost to individual students of playing sport at the University of Leeds. Find out more here.
If you have any questions please contact Rachel Weaver (Social Sport Coordinator):

Your Varsity Needs You!

Students, are you still in Leeds this summer? We’re looking for models to be a part of this year’s Varsity campaign which will be displayed all over campus in the run up to this year’s event – and don’t worry you don’t have to play sport to be a part of the campaign. This is a fantastic opportunity to get involved with the biggest sporting event in the University calendar. The photo shoot will take place on Friday 19th August from 9am – 5pm (schedule tbc).

If you are interested and available on the aforementioned date, please contact for more information before 12pm Wednesday 17th August.


7th University Graduate Rio Bound

Laura sugar running over the line on athletics track

Laura Sugar, who graduated from the University of Leeds in 2012 has been selected to represent Team GB at the Rio Paralympic Games this September.

Laura who previously competed for Wales in the national Hockey side swapped her stick for the track in 2012 and hasn’t looked back, recently winning Silver in the 2016 Muller Anniversary Games.

Laura competes in the 200m T44 Classification and will be taking centre stage on the 14th September when she represents Great Britain at the Paralympics for the first time in her career.

Find out more about Laura and the seven other athletes from the University competing in Rio on our webpage here.

New £5m cycle track’s wheels in motion

new cycle track birds eye view


Starting gun fired on £5m sports facility fit for Olympians

Work has officially started on a £5m University of Leeds sports development that will enhance facilities for cycling and triathlon in the region.

The project for a 1.6km (1 mile) outdoor cycling circuit and refurbished sports pavilion on the University’s Bodington playing fields in North Leeds will provide a traffic-free environment for cycling.

The 6m-wide, Tarmac-surfaced circuit should be ready early next year for University students, staff and the wider community to use for all levels of cycling including recreation, coaching and competition.

The development comes just after some 8,000 people took part in the Leeds Sky Ride earlier this month, with part of the city centre closed to traffic for the two-wheeled enjoyment of all ages.

What’s more, there are just days to go before the Rio 2016 games start. The city’s Olympic competitors, including University of Leeds alumni Alistair and Jonny Brownlee and Gordon Benson, will have access to the new facilities at Bodington.

The pavilion will create a home for British Triathlon’s world-leading Leeds Triathlon Centre, providing strength and conditioning training, physiotherapy and other support services.

The proposals, which are part of the University’s sports and physical activity strategy, have been drawn up in partnership with British Cycling, British Triathlon, UK Sport and Leeds City Council.

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


Patrick Craig, the University’s Assistant Head of Sport, said:

“This is a success story for cycling in the city and beyond. It will ensure cyclists of all abilities in Yorkshire and across the north of England have some of the best facilities in the UK available close to home.

We’ve already seen how the University’s graduates have dominated top level sports cycling through the Triathlon World Series, an achievement which everyone in Leeds can be proud of. Opening this new track reinforces our vision of becoming the number one provider of higher education sport and physical activity experience in the UK.

I’m also very pleased to say to competitive cyclists anywhere in the region that this circuit is available to them to train on. This is a University of Leeds facility which will be ready and waiting to help our students and graduates and everyone else to use to improve their performance.”

Charles Johnston, Sport England’s Property Director, said:

“Thanks to this new development, British triathletes will have access to the dedicated world-class training and support facilities they need to be the best.

But it’s not all about Olympians. When Sport England invests in facilities, we make sure everyone can benefit, regardless of ability. This centre is no different. I’m looking forward to seeing our top athletes and members of the community all using and enjoying these fantastic facilities for years to come.”

artists impression of cycle track

John Mills, Director of Coaching, Education and Development at British Cycling, said:

“We’re very pleased that the closed road circuit is now a step closer. We look forward to continuing to work with the University of Leeds on this exciting project, which will provide a traffic-free facility for Leeds residents to cycle on for both sport and recreation.”

The Brownlee brothers’ coach, Malcolm Brown MBE, a performance coach at Leeds Triathlon Centre, said:

“Leeds Triathlon Centre will shortly have a home in this exciting new development. We are very grateful to all the key partners who have contributed to enable us to put down roots in the city. We now have a platform for further expansion of the sport.”

Angie Foley, a volunteer at Leeds Mercury Cycling Club, said:

“This is a really exciting time for cycling clubs across Leeds. Our club currently uses a car park for coaching young children, which is a huge barrier for progression, stopping many from cycling beyond the age of around 12. The new purpose-built facility at Bodington will help us to keep young people cycling through their teenage and well into their adult years.”

The improvements complement Sports Park Weetwood nearby, 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.

The Bodington site is currently used for grass sports including football and rugby. These uses will continue after the redevelopment.


Great Britain’s Triathlon Olympic team

  • Five of the six athletes selected for Great Britain’s Triathlon Olympic team train at the Leeds Triathlon Centre, which is a collaboration between the University of Leeds, British Triathlon, and Leeds Beckett University, offering elite training for top triathletes. The new cycling circuit will become part of this centre.
  • University of Leeds graduates claimed every place in the Team GB men’s triathlon squad. They are Jonny Brownlee (BA History 2012), Alistair Brownlee (BSc Sports Science and Physiology 2009) and Gordon Benson, (BSc Nutrition 2016). All three continue to make regular use of training facilities at the University, including the pool at The Edge centre and will use the new circuit.
  • Vicky Holland and Non Stanford, also members of Leeds Triathlon Centre, are two of the three selected for the Olympic women’s triathlon team.



University Hosts Triathlon VIP Dinner

With the announcement that the World Triathlon Series will return to Yorkshire in 2017, Leeds has reinforced its status as one of the global centers for world class triathlon and the University of Leeds continues to be a major influence in the sport locally, nationally and internationally.

This was cemented when dignitaries from across the triathlon world came together at the University of Leeds for a reception jointly hosted by Vice Chancellor, Sir Alan Langlands and the Leader of Leeds City Council, Councillor Judith Blake. Guests in attendance included the ITU Executive Board, British Triathlon and senior members of staff from across the University and the city of Leeds. Sir Alan spoke passionately about how important triathlon is to the University and the city, reinforcing our commitment to supporting the development of sport on the world stage.

artists impression of cycle track

This comes at a time when the University awaits planning permission for a £4.7m cycle track and triathlon performance centre development at The University of Leeds. The new development will be home to the Leeds Triathlon Centre and 5 of the athletes who have been selected to represent Great Britain at the Rio Olympics this summer.

“The Leeds Triathlon Centre will shortly have a home in this exciting new facility development. We are very grateful to all the key partners who have contributed to enable us to put down roots in the city. We now have a platform for further expansion of the sport”

Malcolm Brown, Performance Coach Leeds Triathlon Centre

UK Sport and British Cycling have joined the University of Leeds to fund the exciting new project, strengthening the partnership between the organisations and the University.

“We are delighted to be able to add this new cycle track and sports pavilion to our growing portfolio of top class sport facilities. To be able to do this is partnership with world leading sports bodies including British Cycling, British Triathlon, UK Sport and Sport England reinforces our vision of becoming the number one provider of higher education sport and physical activity experience in the UK and demonstrates our desire to support the development of sport on the world stage”

Patrick Craig, Assistant Head of Sport

Find out more about triathlon at the University of Leeds on our triathlon webpage.


Increased Financial Support for Student Sport

student running in fields

An increase in the number of our students taking part in sports activities and teams is the aim behind additional funding recently announced by the University and Leeds University Union.

“We understand that sport can play an enormously valuable part in enhancing our students’ experience, and are delighted that the University Council recently agreed additional investment. This funding will help remove the barriers of cost and lack of facilities, which in turn will lead to increased student participation in sport, particularly in teams and organised programmes,” says Stewart Ross, Director, Commercial and Campus Support Services.

Piers Cottee-Jones, LUU’s Activities Officer, says: “The extra resources will drive down the cost of playing sport and help ensure that cost is never a barrier to participation for our students. This additional funding will be used for things like subsidising travel and accommodation, and removing the sports pass for teams who need to train. It will help bring an equality of opportunity to the clubs so if some sports teams need to hire external venues because the University doesn’t have the appropriate facilities or available space, our students won’t have to pay.”

Further investment in our sports facilities is also establishing a world-class triathlon centre and fantastic cycling facilities and providing a refurbished sports pavilion.

Stewart Ross continues: “These developments will enable us to build on our great tradition for sport and make a significant impact on the experience of students and staff at Leeds.”

Find out more about Leeds Sport here.

A Trip to the Orphanage

In the second week of their South African Adventure, our Gryphons Abroad team paid a visit to the Zulufadder Orphanage. Here they tell us all about it.

Rachel Weaver

Spending the past 2 days at the Zulufadder Ophanage has been one of the most incredible experiences of my life, seeing children who have next to nothing, smile as if they have the world is a truly amazing sight. Initially the children were timid and curious as to what a bunch of strangers were doing visiting the orphanage but within a few minutes of us being there I’ve never experienced a group of children wanting as much love and attention as these. Both days were full of playing games, cuddles and laughter and was a real eye opener as to how something as small as a colouring book or ball can make so many children so happy! Before arriving at the orphanage Andy had told us about Poppy, the lady who runs the orphanage, and how amazing she is but nothing could compare to actually meeting her!

Poppy is one of the most inspirational people I have ever met, her ability to control 65 children aged 2-6 was admirable and you could see that every child saw her as a role model. I have honestly never met someone as happy and enthusiastic as Poppy and I really aim to be as passionate as her from now on! These 2 days were unforgettable and are moments I will cherish for the rest of my life!

Jessica Foggarty

Our visits to the orphanage were nothing like I ever could have imagined.  I was expecting a really challenging and upsetting environment but in reality it was much different.  Although the children come from very difficult backgrounds it is far from obvious.  Over the two days we spent at the Zulufadder orphanage I was able to get to know the most amazing group of children.  The love, laughter and cuddles that these children were able to give and receive was nothing like I have ever experienced before and it really hit me that happiness is not something we get through material items and having the money to be able to do great things but instead from the people we surround ourselves with.  Poppy – the lady who runs the Zulufadder orphanage is honestly the most incredible woman I have ever met and will ever meet.  The work she puts in to ensure the children eat, learn and love just like any other children is utterly inspiring.  I really hope that I can come back in the future and help her to continue the work she does there.  There is a lot that I have taken from this trip but my visits to the orphanage provided me with an experience that has hit me hard, I will never ever forget it and I have been inspired to keep helping people in the future.


Shona Mcleaod

The orphanage had the most profound impact on me as a person. Working with children is foreign to me and was a huge learning curve. It really showed me how simple things can make people happy and have a positive impact on someone’s life. Seeing the children smiling and offering the ‘older’ role model position gave the children someone to cuddle and become friends with. Reading, colouring and playing with the children and seeing how happy this made them is something I will never forget. It really showed me how important the little things in life are. Saying goodbye to Poppy was one of the saddest parts of the trip. She is by far the most amazing woman I have ever met. Her happiness radiates into those around her and I couldn’t think of anyone better to run such a brilliant centre. I will never forget this experience and I am grateful to have the opportunity to take part.

Eamonn Laird

As a group I think we were all in agreement that the visit to the orphanage would be the most significant experience of the trip and provide insight into a situation far removed from our own family setups. Arriving at the orphanage we were given the most heartfelt and enthusiastic welcome from Poppy who ran the orphanage, her welcome was a perfect representation of the atmosphere and feeling we would find running through the orphanage.

Regardless of the situation the children may be in, there was no feeling of sadness at the orphanage, simply children enjoying being children. The joy the children took from what we would consider the simplest items, a ball, a colouring book, a skipping rope, was over whelming and provides a great example to us all that we should not lose that enthusiasm for even the wee things.


Rosie Victoria Kerr

It’s so incredible meeting a group of children who are so happy, joyful and smiley, despite having all lived through deprivation of some sort, whether it be losing one or both parents, or a background of poverty. Both days when we initially arrived at the orphanage, the children were shy and reserved, after 20 minutes they were jumping all over us, playing games and just enjoying spending time with us. There was a lot of laughter over the two mornings we spent at the orphanage and it was great to feel that even for a few hours the children felt enveloped in love and attention. I think my favourite moment of the whole trip was seeing Poppy, the incredible lady who runs the orphanage, get so immensely excited about seeing donations of kit, clothes and books. This moment will stay with me for a lifetime.

Sian Jones

Our last couple of days in South Africa was spent at the Zulufadder Orphanage in Eshowe, and it was an incredibly enriching experience. The children were some of the happiest and most excited children I’ve ever met; they jumped into our arms and there wasn’t a moment where we weren’t holding a child or laughing and having a good time. The real star of the show was Poppy, the lady who has run Zulufadder since it started and a lady that is incredibly inspiring and so grateful for all the things we were able to donate. It was sad leaving the orphanage but it was great to see that all the kit was going to such a fantastic cause, as well as the children looking very cute in their tiny kits. I had one of the best days I’ve had here in south Africa, and it was very emotionally draining but I would happily do it all over just to see their big smiles again.

Leeds Athletes Dominate World Triathlon Leeds

Athletes based at the ever growing Leeds Triathlon Centre dominated the World Triathlon Leeds weekend, claiming eight medals across five events, including a Brownlee 1-2 in the finale.

The University of Leeds is a key partner in the Leeds Triathlon Centre and many current students and notable Alumni train here, including Olympic heroes Alistair and Jonny Brownlee. The Brownlee brothers are two of the best triathletes in the world and proved why they have been a force to be reckoned with on the world stage of triathlon by winning the gold and silver medal in the elite men’s race in their hometown.

A mistake in transition one by Jonathan Brownlee could have ruined the fairy tale ending, but his brother Alistair slowed the leading bike pack of three to allow him to catch up and bridge the gap. As soon as the Brownlees were together on the bike with the Australian Royle and Frenchman Raphael, all four showed their true class in front of the streets of Leeds lined with thousands of fans. With all four of these incredible athletes sharing the workload, they managed to extend their lead out to over two minutes by the end of the bike leg.

On the run leg Alistair Brownlee, cheered on by tens of thousands of people around the city centre, looked comfortable and pushed out in front to take the gold medal with a time of 1:49:27. Younger brother Jonathan Brownlee tried to keep up but didn’t have the legs after the gruelling 41.5km cycle and had to settle for the silver medal.

In the women’s race it was Leeds based Jessica Learmonth and Lucy Hall that dominated the early stages of the race. After coming out of the water in first and second place, they joined up with Bermudan athlete Duffy to put on an absolute masterclass on the bike to give them a minute and a half cushion going into the run.

Despite the impressive first two legs of the race from Learmonth and Hall, it was Leeds teammate Vicky Holland that took a podium spot with an impressive run leg to seal her a bronze medal. The race was won by favourite Gwen Jorgensen (USA), with Duffy (BER) in second.

After a difficult swim leaving her over a minute behind, Non Stanford managed to make up the difference with a solid bike and run leg to finish ninth, with Learmonth finishing in 10th, her highest ever finish in a World Triathlon Series race, and Lucy Hall finished in 13th.



On the Saturday, University of Leeds students also had some impressive performances at the British Junior Super Series race. European junior silver medallist Sam Dickinson continued his incredible season with a fourth consecutive Super Series victory in the Junior Aquathlon, finishing ahead of teammate Jack Willis in second. In the junior women’s race Mary Hodgson ran well to take a bronze medal, her third straight Super Series podium.

Sam had a great swim to come out of the water third, however a quick transition let him go out into the run in the lead and he never looked back. Jack was eighth out of the water, however he also had a quick transition and started the run quickly to leap frog his competitors and sit in second place behind Sam. That order would remain unchanged throughout the rest of the race to cross the line. Six other Leeds Triathlon Centre or Yorkshire Academy athletes finished in the top 16; Ed Beecher (5th), Lewis Byram (8th), Jimmy Lund (12th), Jordan Hull (14th) & Tyler Hutchinson (16th).

Mary, who has had a couple of tough races recently, used her impressive run to overtake several athletes after coming out 10th in the swim. She had managed to get up to fifth position after transition and the first lap, then used an even quicker lap to get herself onto the podium. Four other Leeds Triathlon Centre or Yorkshire Academy athletes finished in the top 20; Lucy Byram (11th), Erica Byram (15th), Harmonie Waterman (19th) & Jemma Speers (20th)

In the British Triathlon Open Age Aquathlon, University of Leeds student Richard Allen broke the course record, thanks to an all-round performance, to secure the gold medal. Leeds Beckett University student Ben Rhodes finished the race in the bronze medal position.


Sprint and standard distance

In the Sprint Distance Open Race, Matthew Burt (University of Leeds) posted the fasted swim time overall to take a bronze medal in the 20-24 age group, with teammates James Scott Farrington (4th) and Ben Rhodes (5th) not far behind.

In the women’s standard distance event, University of Leeds student Chloe Scotchbrook took a silver in the 20-24 age group with a time of 02:21:05.


A huge congratulations to all those who took part in the event – we hope to see you doing just as well again next year!

Leeds Dominates Olympic Triathlon Team

brownlee brothers celebrating race together

With less than 60 days to go until Rio 2016 British Triathlon have announced who will represent Great Britain at the Olympic Games this summer and all three men are from the University of Leeds.

The men’s team includes defending Olympic Champion Alistair Brownlee and his brother Jonny who are both alumni of the University of Leeds. The third and highly contested spot in the team has been given to current student Gordon Benson who will be competing at his first Olympic Games this summer. The GB team will be aiming to better their double medal haul of Gold and Bronze at London 2012.

Alongside the men’s team will be Non Stanford, Vicky Holland and Helen Jenkins who make up the GB women’s team. Non and Vicky are part of the Leeds Triathlon Centre alongside Alistair, Jonny and Gordon. This elite training centre for top triathletes in the UK is a collaboration between the University of Leeds, British Triathlon, and Leeds Beckett University which gives athletes access to the best coaches, facilities and training environments to achieve their world class ambitions.

Leeds will have the chance to see these great athletes in action on Sunday when the ITU World Triathlon Series comes to the city. With the full men’s team, Non and Vicky set to race against the worlds elite.

“The investment the University of Leeds has made over the last 5 years has placed us at the forefront of world triathlon, in terms of training facilities and coaching as well as the opportunities for our students to study a world-class degree and be engaged with the sport at every level”

Patrick Craig, Assistant Head of Sport at The University of Leeds


Find out more about how the University has supported these athletes throughout their studies here.