Gryphons Unite to Tackle Mental Health

American football and rugby league players together in a line

Thank you to Mark Webster for donating his time for photography: www.markwebsterphotography.com

In light of men’s mental health awareness the University of Leeds Rugby League and American Football clubs have teamed up to raise money for the James Burke Foundation and CALM. Both charities work to raise awareness of male mental health and provide support services, with the James Burke Foundation being set up in memory of a University of Leeds student.

“In April of this year we lost a teammate named James Burke to suicide. This affected not only the club but everyone who knew him. We wanted to do something to make a difference and raise awareness of mental health to make sure this never affected another club in our university again. After speaking to American Football we found out they were in a similar situation so with both clubs having been affected by mental health and suicide we decided to pull together and make a collective effort to change the stigma that comes with mental health.

We want to encourage both men and women to speak out and know that its ok, to not be ok”

Andrew Marks, Rugby League

Kyle, who was a teammate of James has written a blog about what happened and you can read it on our Leeds Sport blog.

You can support the clubs throughout November to help raise funds and awareness of mental health by getting involved in one of the many exciting events:

  • Clean Shave

    Whats in store?

    To kick off the month of events the guys from Boris&Co are coming to University Square in LUU (opposite Santander) to give out free cutthroat shaves from a professional barber (worth £25).

    So if you’re planning to do Movember, or just haven’t had a shave for a while then come along and get a clean shave and throw a few coins into the donation buckets to support the mental health charities.

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    Where? Opposite Santander, LUU
    When? 1st November, 10am – 4pm, drop in whenever
    Cost? Throw a few coins into the buckets to support the charities Boris &Co logo

  • Pizza & Pool

    Whats in store?
    Come and enjoy some free pizza and pool in the Loft (above Blackwells, opposite the Parkinson Building). it’s a great place to chill out with some mates and have a chat.

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    Where? The Loft, above Blackwells, opposite the Parkinson Building
    When? Fridays in November 2-4pm
    Cost? Free

  • Move for Mental Health - 4th November, 9am

    Whats in store?
    Support the American Football and Rugby League clubs by getting involved in the Woodhouse Moor parkrun with them. This free fun 5k run (or walk) is a great way to start your weekend!

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    Where? Woodhouse Moor, Red Boots Statue opposite the Business School
    When? 4th November, 9am
    Cost? Free

  • Birthday Game

    Whats in store?
    Come and watch the University of Leeds Rugby League Club take on Leeds Beckett in this Varsity re-match at Bodington Playing Fields. Taking place on the birthday of James Burke there will be a minutes pause before the match in his memory.

    Our University cheerleaders will also be at the match with a half time routine and following the game there will be a post match party at Pyramid in LUU, details below.

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    Where? Sports Park Weetwood
    When? 8th November, 2pm KO
    Cost? Free

  • Pyramid Party

    Whats in store?

    Drinks, a raffle, and a player pledge auction to help raise money for both of the amazing causes that support men’s mental health awareness.
    As if that wasn’t enough, freestyle dance will be performing and the cocktails that each of these teams has designed; Cool Rummings and Pornstashe Martini will be on sale at the event and throughout the whole month of November, with a pound of each cocktail sold going to the charities. Non alcoholic drinks will also be available at the bar.
    This is the perfect place to start your Wednesday night and support these mental health charities.


  • Yorkshire Carnegie v Bristol

    Whats in store?

    Get down to Headingley to see Yorkshire Carnegie take on Bristol on Friday 17th November. As well as the rugby, there will be live music from Hyde Park Brass Band ahead of the game and at half time. Plus you’ll spot the boys bucket shaking around the ground raising money for our two fantastic causes. If you see them, throw a few pennies their way!


  • Movie Night

    Whats in store?
    Come and enjoy a film in the comfort of LUU, there’ll even be popcorn! American Football have chosen The Longest Yard, and Rugby League have chosen Cool Runnings. We’ll be heading to twitter to vote for the one you’d like to watch so check out @leeds_sport on Monday to get your votes in.

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    Where? Pyramid Theatre
    When? Friday 24th November, Bar Open 6pm, Film Starts 6.30pm
    Cost? Pay as you feel

  • Movember Fruity

    Whats in store?
    Everyone’s favourite Friday night out will have a Movember twist! The American Football and Rugby League club will be there with donation buckets so make sure you drop in a few coins to support the charities and get yourself to Terrace for some pre-fruity cocktails made by the clubs; Cool Rummings and Pornstache Martini. A pound from these goes towards the charities.

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    Where? Terrace and Stylus, LUU
    When? 24th November, 7pm
    Cost? £4.50 for Fruity and make sure you throw a few coins into the buckets to support the charities

If you would like to donate to the charities then you can give as much or as little as you like online below.

Check out everything that’s happening by following Leeds Sport and the Clubs on social media…

3 points away from Varsity History

Cheer leaders holding up UNI signs

Into its 13th year of the competition, Leeds Varsity 2017 was as competitive as in recent years, resulting in the Gryphon’s narrowly missing out with an overall score of 32 – 29 to Leeds Beckett University. The score reflects the closing of the gap between the two where just one or two fixtures could have clinched it for the University of Leeds.

Leeds Varsity, the ultimate university sporting competition see’s University of Leeds take on local rivals Leeds Beckett in a calendar of fixtures beginning in January and finishing with a grand finale in October. The October events kick started on the Saturday with parkrun Varsity in which 177 students, staff and alumni got out of bed at 9am to represent UoL and claim an easy victory over rivals Beckett who only managed a mere 36.

Following last year’s successful introduction, Varsity Netball returned with well over 300 spectators who cheered the University of Leeds as they took on the Beckett side who currently play in the BUCS league above. Despite a highly competitive game, Beckett came out on top to win the game 38-29.

2017 saw the introduction of another new Tuesday night event; Varsity Hockey where both the Men and Women’s first teams took to Sports Park Weetwood to battle it out for two all important Varsity points. With close results in both it was Beckett who claimed both points with the men winning 1-0 after a goal in the last five minutes. In the women’s game, the final score finished 3-1 to Beckett despite an impressive drag flick converted by the University of Leeds’ Katie Hopkisson.

The finale Wednesday was packed with intense competition and both universities battled hard against each other throughout the day. The Gryphon’s started the day off trailing 8-2 so had to work hard to try pull some points back. They dominated in the pool, effortlessly winning both the Men and Women’s Swimming gala and securing victories in both Men & Women’s Waterpolo making them undefeated for the 8th year running.

There was fierce competition elsewhere at The Edge with the University hosting the Basketball and Korfball. After some hard battled fixtures, the University came out on top in the Korfball with an impressive 13 – 4 victory. However, Beckett did the triple in the Basketball with victories in all three fixtures.

Indoor rowing, usually a certain victory for the Gryphons, ended up being voided as a fixture due to Beckett racing rowers in incorrect categories.

Over at the Gryphon Centre, the home teams took easy victories in the squash with 4-0 and 5-0 victories. It was a different story in the handball though, with Beckett securing wins in both the men and women’s games.

Meanwhile up at Sports Park Weetwood, it was evenly match in the women’s football with the Gryphons 3rd team taking a 2-1 victory, the 2nd team just missing out as a result of penalties, and the 1st team losing 2-1. In a dramatic extra time finish, the Women’s Lacrosse team edged the victory over their rivals 6-5. A comfortable win in both Men’s Hockey games added two points to the Gryphons tally.

Down the road at Beckett, the university netball teams put in a sterling performance with wins from the 3rd and 4th teams with the 2’s only just missing out 35-33. Beckett used the home turf advantage with a white wash of victories in all 6 tennis matches for the second year in a row. Playing away didn’t deter volleyball with 3-0 wins in both men and women’s fixtures.

The Varsity day culminated with the men’s rugby union finale at Headingley Carnegie Stadium. In an unusual year with the crowds separated behind the goal posts, the overall scores were nail bitingly close leaving the rugby union side going out on to the field trying to reduce the gap to just a single point. The boys put in a valiant effort but it was a physical, league above, Beckett side who pulled away with a 29 – 8 victory.

Claiming that final Varsity point settled the scores at 32 – 29. Congratulations to Leeds Beckett University for their overall victory and well done to all players, coaches, volunteers, staff and spectators for the huge commitment and dedication to Leeds Varsity 2017. Thank you also to RAG for raising an impressive £362 for a fantastic cause, State of Mind, and to our student media societies for their coverage of the game.

A full list of the results can be found here, and keep an eye out on our social media channels for photo’s and videos from the day.

 

Varsity Hockey Comes to University of Leeds

male hockey player dribbling the ball ready to be tackled by male opponent

Leeds Varsity are excited to announce a brand new event in the 2017 series. Varsity Hockey will see the University of Leeds and Leeds Beckett University battle it out for two Varsity points on the Tuesday evening the night before Wednesday’s Big Finale.

With both the women and men’s teams taking to the field, the event is set to be an evening of fierce competition. Given the clubs are two of our largest sports societies, the atmosphere is set to be electric. Even if you’re not familiar with the game, there will be commentary to keep you informed on the game and more importantly, the score.

To keep you entertained, there will be performances from LUU’s Freestyle Dance and Leeds Beckett Dancers on the night. Refreshments will be available from Dodsons catch Fish & Chips, our exclusive caterers for the evening, and drinks will be available from the view bar.

When? Tuesday 3rd October. Gates open 6pm. Women’s 1st XI pb 6.45pm, Men’s 1st XI pb 8pm.

Where? Sports Park Weetwood. Limited parking is available on a first come first served basis or the venue can be easily accessed by the number 1 or 6 bus from outside Parkinson steps for just £1 with your student card.

How much? FREE

If that’s not enough to convince you, hear from the club captain of the women’s hockey club herself, Molly Bret:

“We are extremely excited to be hosting the new hockey opener event this year! With all the hard work gone into planning the event we are sure it’s going to be a great evening and it would be great to see as many people there as possible. So please wear your uni colours, show your support and we will do our very best to grab hold of that much desired varsity point!”

To find out more about other Varsity events, head to the official Varsity Website or head to the Leeds Varsity social media channels; Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Leeds Alumna Five-Time World Champion

Laura anderson competing at the aikido world championships

University of Leeds Alumna Laura Anderson (Dentistry, 2010) has this weekend become undisputed Aikido World Champion. Laura won her 5th world individual title while competing in Akita, Japan, a feat never before achieved in the history of the sport.

Laura began her Aikido career at the age of 12 at Wharfedale Aikido Club in Ilkley, as an active child Laura jumped at the chance to try a new sport and has never looked back.

Laura began her Dentistry degree at The University of Leeds in 2005 and was awarded an Elite Sport Scholarship to help support her in training and competing at an elite level alongside studying for a world class degree. She was also a member of the Women’s Hockey Club during her time at Leeds.

Laura anderson competing at the aikido world championships

In 2011 Laura won her first individual world title in London, followed by two more in Japan (2013) and Australia (2015). This put Laura in the record books as no competitor had ever won 3 world titles in the history of the sport.

This year the first World Sport Aikido Federation (WSAF) world championships took place in London. The WSAF is a world governing body for Aikido and has been set up to provide a platform for open and fair competition with a goal to encourage the amalgamation of all international competition. At this competition Laura won her 4th individual world title along with a mixed team gold and women’s team silver.

Just two weeks following this competition, to ensure Laura was undisputed champion of the world she travelled with the British Team to Akita, Japan to compete in the World Championships hosted by the Japanese Aikido Association (JAA). The majority of competitors at this event hadn’t competed in London as they have an affiliation to the JAA.

Laura ANderson receiving her gold medal

Laura made her way through the preliminaries and into the final where she won her 5th individual title and was crowned undisputed champion of the world. Laura remains the only person in the history of the sport to win more than two individual world titles, so to win five is an incredible feat.

 

 

 

In her career Laura has won 11 gold medals in total including a number of mixed and women’s team medals. A full list can be seen below;

Year  Location Event Medal
2011 London, UK Individual Gold
Mixed Team Gold
2013 Kawasaki, Japan Individual Gold
Women’s Team Gold
Mixed Team Gold
2015 Gold Coast, Australia Individual Gold
Women’s Team Gold
Mixed Team Gold
2017 London, UK Individual Gold
Mixed Team Gold
Women’s Team Silver
Akita, Japan Individual Gold

 

If you would like to try Aikido then get in touch with the University of Leeds Aikido Club or contact Leeds Central Aikido Club.

Leeds Varsity parkrun, be a part of the series

Leeds Varsity are excited to announce that following last years success, Varsity parkrun is back for 2017.

If you’ve always wanted to be involved with the greatest sporting event in the university calendar, you can! So how does it work?

Each runner and volunteer will score a point for their University, the University with the most points wins parkrun Varsity.

When? Saturday 30th September, 8.30am

Where? Woodhouse Moor

How? Register with parkrun then simply turn up on the Saturday morning wearing your University colours to take part. Staff, students and alumni are welcome. parkrun is a 5km run which you can take as slow or as fast as you like. If you are keen to get involved but can’t run, don’t worry, you can volunteer for your University and you’ll still count towards your universities total. There will be 3 funnels after you’ve finished, you simply need to make your way down the funnel allocated to your University and hand in your token.

Who wins? You will only score a point for your university if you register and wear your University colours. The University with the most participants (runners and volunteers) will be the parkrun Varsity champions!

Helpful Information for on the day

  • Register beforehand
  • Print off and bring your barcode
  • Leave bags and coats at the finish line not the start line
  • Get to the start line for 8:50am
  • Please listen carefully during the run briefing
  • It’s a run not a race, you’re an ambassador for your university. Please be considerate to other runners and park users
  • Wear your university’s colours, GREEN for Uni, PURPLE for Beckett.
  • Try to seed yourself on how fast you think you’ll be able to complete the run
  • Cross the finish line the third time it comes into sight
  • After crossing the finish line stay in order until given a finish token
  • Get your barcode and finish token scanned at your University-specific scanning station

Dream Test Debut for Alumni Toby Roland-Jones

cricket pitch at the university of leeds

University of Leeds alumni, Toby Roland-Jones, called up to the England cricket side for their latest test against South Africa, had his dream debut taking four wickets and scoring 25 runs with the bat.

Middlesex medium paced bowler, Toby Roland-Jones took an impressive four wickets in his opening 33 balls in his first Test cricket match. Within just six overs he had balanced the match heavily in England’s favour, who in the first innings set a score to chase of 353.

The wickets fell in close succession with South Africa’s Elgar caught behind off an edge followed by an LBW (leg before wicket) to send Kuhn back to the changing rooms. Amla, a triple centurion the last time he played a Test match at The Oval, was the third to fall at the hands of Roland-Jones, giving a simple catch to Jonny Bairstow. The fourth and final wicket came from another catch behind as Quinton de Kock sent the ball straight in to the hands of gully, leaving the South African innings was in tatters.

In an exceptional start to his international career, Roland-Jones not only performed with the ball, but also scored 25 runs in as many balls, including a 6, showing his true impact as a player.

Whilst at the University, Toby Roland-Jones played for the Leeds Bradford MCCU side which supports talented cricketers through their time at university.

Head of Sport Suzanne Glavin said:

“It’s fantastic to see another university alumni achieving so highly in the World of Sport. Congratulations to Toby on his incredible debut, we wish you plenty more success for the future and will certainly be keeping our eyes on your successes.”

To find out more about cricket at the University of Leeds and how you can get involved, head to our clubs page here.

 

Strength and Conditioning Coaches Workshop

strength and conditioning room

On Thursday 20th July, the inaugural Strength and Conditioning (S&C) Coaches Workshop brought together S&C Coaches from Universities across the North of England to share knowledge and ideas.

Assisted by the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS), who sent down National Network Manager Craig Williams to attend, the purpose of the workshop was to address common issues faced by these coaches, and use each other’s experiences to piece together solutions.

The day revolved around two presentations. The first by Jon Kantor form the University of Nottingham, who discussed ‘Quality in Quantity – An S&C service in Higher Education’, and the second by Tom Walton from Northumbria University who gave in insight to their Internship programme. Both talks were highly insightful, and sparked in-depth discussion on the topics.

Staff members at coaching workshop listen to presentation

 

Andy Woodward, a staff member from Barnard Castle School also attended the day, initiating interesting conversations in to bridging the gap between school and University.

 

 

Roundtables throughout the day focused on monitoring the University athlete, and addressing the issue of athletes being away from University for large portions of the year due to holidays. Discussions were fruitful, with the different experiences of coaches blending together with various ideas to put in to practice over the coming year.

Staff members sat listening to presentation

 

The day proved to be a great success for everyone involved with the plan to continue this type of workshop in years to come. For further information please contact Max Roger on M.Roger@leeds.ac.uk

Leeds Sport Blogs have landed!

A brand new blogs page has been launched this month alongside the arrival of the 2017 ITU World Triathlon Series, with a blog about how to strength and condition like a Brownlee.

Leeds Sport, the team who deliver sport here at the University of Leeds, are a highly qualified team. From coaching to volunteering, playing socially or competitively to hosting huge sporting events, it’s all covered, so we thought we’d bring some of that expertise directly to you in the form of a blog.

Each month there will be tips, tricks, skills or advice from a member of our team or some of the talented and dedicated students we work with. You can read more about why we launched our blog here with a welcome from Assistant Head of Sport, Patrick Craig.

Our first blog covers 5 recommended exercises for strength and conditioning training for triathlon. The blog comes from strength and conditioning coach, Tim Jarrett, who works with our top Leeds Gryphon athletes on a daily basis, including our triathletes. This is highly topical with the latest race in the World Triathlon Series calendar coming to Leeds this weekend with both Leeds Sport alumni Alistair and Jonathon Brownlee competing in the event.

Keep an eye out on our social media channels or on the blog page itself for future blogs!

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Strong Start for Powerlifting & Weightlifting Society

strength and conditioning room

Newly formed in October 2016, the University of Leeds Powerlifting & Weightlifting society, have made an impressive start in their first year by claiming victory in the Northern University powerlifting competition.

On the 6th May, the club headed to their first competition organised by the Yorkshire and North East Powerlifting Federation (YNEPF), open to all university teams in the North. The team based format of the competition takes the best 3 men and women’s scores from each university to get a team total.

The team achieved the overall first position with the best team score, the best women’s team, best men’s team, and their 2017/18 captain Kieran Gray was the best male lifter. Kieran also broke the bench press record, lifting 170kg, and the deadlift record by lifting 285.5kg.

Club President Danny White spoke to us about the results:

“Everyone displayed exceptional individual performances, with all 7 team members taking a podium position in their weight categories. This has brought the number of members qualified for nationals to 6; those that are still within the junior age category will be competing at the British Junior Championships in November 2017. Next year we aim to have a team compete at British University Championships and qualify for the World University Championship, in addition to bringing as many new powerlifters into the sport as we can!”

Individual Results:

Kieran Gray1stU105kg
Matt Chivers3rdU105kg
Nick Humphries2ndU66kg
Belal Ahmed1stU66kg
Wura Oyenekan1stU72kg
Josie Penfold1stU63kg
Meri Raty2ndU63kg

 

What happens at a powerlifting competition?

At a powerlifting competition, competitors complete 3 types of lift: the squat, bench press and deadlift, with 3 attempts in each to lift the heaviest weight possible. Upon arrival at a competition each competitor is weighed and put into a weight category, so that strengths can be compared between powerlifters of different bodyweights. For the squat, there are 3 attempts that increase in weight in which Judges will give athletes a white light for a successful lift or a red light for a bad lift. This is repeated for the bench press and then the deadlift, by which point each competitor should have achieved a valid attempt in each of the 3 lifts.

How does the scoring work?

The heaviest weight lifted in each of the squat, bench press and deadlift is combined to get a total. This total is used to give each competitor a ‘wilks score’. This is a way of comparing everyone’s strengths taking in to account different bodyweights. For example, a male with a 100kg bodyweight who lifts a total of 550kg would achieve a wilks score of ~335, whereas a male lifter of 90kg bodyweight with a 550kg lift total would score a wilks of 351. This allows all bodyweights to be competitive, making this a highly accessible and inclusive sport.

Competition preparation

Preparation for a competition varies from athlete to athlete, as it depends on their training programme and time available whilst balancing university studies. Individuals have a programme to follow in the gym. In the run up to a competition the programme increases the weight being lifted until athletes are generally hitting their opening attempts in the week prior to the competition. Team members have also got to be the right weight for their weight class, so there can also be some last minute weight loss involved.

More about the club and how can you get involved

The club became an official society in early October 2016 founded by Danny White (President) and Osura Bangamuwa (Captain). The clubs aims are:

  1. Provide a supportive and encouraging environment for powerlifters and weightlifters of all ages and abilities
  2. Provide affordable training, cheaper than coaching available elsewhere in Leeds

There are 3.5 hours of training per week at The Edge coached by personal trainer (PT) and powerlifter Chris Baldwin, at a cost of £30 per year to members and Tom Millbank (PT and strongman). Since it’s launch, the club now has around 50 members who range from absolute beginners to national level competitors.

To find out more, head to the clubs official webpage.

 

 

 

 

Triathlon take home the team double

After taking three of six available individual medals and two gold team medals at the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Standard Distance Triathlon, the University of Leeds has retained its title as number one institution in the BUCS Triathlon rankings for the third year running.

A record number of students competed at this years Championships in Southport, with a large number of students from the Leeds Triathlon Centre taking part.

In the women’s race, Sarah Hodgson claimed the silver medal as the first finisher from the University of Leeds, behind Elle Twentyman from Bath. Sarah improved on her BUCS Sprint bronze medal she won back in 2014. An impressive four University of Leeds athletes finished in the top 7, with Rachael Hawker narrowly missing out on a podium position coming in 4th. Emma Pickering came in at 6th position closely followed by Natasha Sinha in 7th leaving the women’s team gold medal in absolutely no doubt.

womens BUCS triathlon winners

The University of Leeds Men’s Team included two individual medal placings with Sports Scholars Alistair Rogers and Jack Willis achieving 2nd and 3rd place respectively. After returning from injury just a couple of months ago, final year student Alastair produced the fastest swim and cycle time for the whole field, but was overtaken in the run by University of Stirling student George Goodwin. Ed Beecher came in at 10th place securing the top spot in the team competition for the University of Leeds.

mens BUCS triathlon winners

 

Head of Sport Suzanne Glavin said:

It’s fantastic to see the continuing success of our Triathlon teams here at the university. Our partnership with the Leeds Triathlon Centre is clearly paying off, allowing our students access to some of the best coaching in the country at some incredible training facilities here on university campus. Congratulations to all athletes who took part!

Despite a slow start in the BUCS Duathlon placing sixth overall, the University of Leeds have dominated the BUCS Sprint and Standard to run away as the number one institute for Triathlon, leading closest competitor Bath by 43 points.