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.

 

Scholar Voted RFL University Player of the Year

Rugby pitch Sports Park Weetwood

Sports Scholar, James Woodburn-Hall, has been voted as the Rugby Football League’s (RFL) University Player of the Year. The Cec Thompson award is presented to the player who has performed outstandingly on the field throughout the University Rugby League season. 

James Woodburn-Hall is in his final year at the University of Leeds studying Sports Science and Physiology. Having played at Super League level for London Broncos prior to joining the University, James has been a key player for the student team since his arrival. The team has since gained promotion in to the BUCS Premier A division, the top league in the country.

Alongside completing his studies, he’s also played regularly for Halifax RLFC who play in the Championship. On top of this, James has just been selected to play for the English Students team and will be heading to compete in the Student World Cup in the Student World Cup over in Australia in July.

Performance Sport Manager David Bond said:

James approaches his training and academic studies with commitment and professionalism and is a shining example of a model student-athlete at the University of Leeds. He’s an athlete who is achieving highly both on the pitch and in the classroom, and this award comes as no surprise particularly following his nomination for the ‘Athlete of the Year’ at this years Sports Colours Awards. Congratulations James, thoroughly deserved!

The award was presented to James as part of the RFL’s magic weekend at St James Park, Newcastle, on Saturday 20th May. A huge congratulations to James for this fantastic achievement.

Sports Colours Awards 2017

On Wednesday 3rd May, players, coaches, students and staff from Leeds Sport celebrated a fantastic year of sporting achievements. The Sports Colours Awards dinner was a fabulous evening, just one of many nights that made up the over arching celebrate week, which culminates with Friday nights grand finale; The Riley’s.

The evening was opened by host Activities officer Taiwo Ogunyinka alongside Sports, Dance, & Martial Arts Reps Ruan, Lauren, and Sam. This lead us in to the first awards of the evening, Club Colours, presented by the reps and Full Colours, by Sports Coordinator and BUCS guru, Rob Fairley. These are awarded to individuals who have gone above and beyond for their society or who have consistently performed highly for their team. This year there were a phenomenal 101 Club Colours awarded showing the fantastic commitment of Leeds Sport club members. There were also a huge 40 Full Colours awarded highlighting the talent of the athletes here at the University.

After a wonderful meal provided by the University of Leeds refectory, attendees were treated to a sensational performance by Dancesport to open the second half of the evening. The performance set a fantastic tone to the evening and showcased the talent among our dancers here at Leeds. The Sports Colours Awards evening also allowed Leeds Sport to celebrate its strength and depth of Sport Scholars whom it supports throughout their time at University.

Following these celebrations, we awarded this years White Rose and Gryphon Award winners who again have excelled either through commitment to their club or their performing excellence respectively. This years White Rose winners were:

  • Olivia Carter (Squash)
  • James Nicholson (Hiking)
  • Ayesha Lee (Cricket)
  • Shona Macloud (Football)
  • Frances Robbs de la Hoye (Rugby)
  • Will Carter (Ultimate Frisbee)
  • Grace Galbraith (Dancesport)
  • Tom Harding (Rugby Union)
  • Jack Bullock (Football)
  • Natasha Shafquat (Hockey)
  • Luke Bowen (Snowriders)
  • Ciaran Lennon (Ice hockey)
  • Nigel Sibanda (Volleyball)

And our Gryphon Award winners, were:

  • Rachel Newborough (Football)
  • Rosie Blout (Cycling)
  • Robert White (Ultimate Frisbee)
  • Fionnuala Crosbie (Netball)
  • Ciara Crosbie (Netball)
  • Savvas Hadjigeorgiou (Hockey)
  • Felix Titherley (American Football)
  • Josh Blower (Lacrosse)
  • Sarah Donnelly (Kick boxing and Krav Maga)

This lead in to our top 9 awards for the evening beginning with 2 new awards; Social League Team of the Year which was awarded to Law Netball, and the newly introduced this year Gryphon Leadership Award, awarded to Hannah Clarke for her outstanding contribution to the Netball Umpire Academy. The next two rewarded our coaches for their hard work to get the teams to where they are. This years Sue Jacklin Club Coach of the Year went to Hockey’s Chris Golding who coached 3 of the hockey clubs teams this past year. Our Mike Brook Performance Coach of the Year went to Women’s Cricket head coach Rick Holland who has gone above and beyond his role in the past 12 months to deliver an excellent coaching experience to the Women’s Cricket Club and the newly formed Women’s MCCU side.

Netballers posing for photo with award and presenter Emma
Hannah Clarke accepting award from Andy

Most Improved Athlete of the Year was awarded to Rowing’s James Boak who since starting rowing from scratch in 2016, was selected for the Club’s new group of ‘Performance Scullers’. In November James entered the National BUCS Indoor Rowing Series, where he placed Silver in the whole of Great Britain, an achievement which no one from Leeds has done on recent records. He has continued to break other Club records, posting the best 30 minute time on the rowing machine to date. He is driven and always gives his all. He is now setting his goals towards the water.

James & Jess posing for a photo with trophy

The Chris Hatton Most Improved Team of the Year went to the American Football who’s team went undefeated and become the BUCS 2A North conference champions, scoring an average of 35 points a game as the number 1 ranked offense in the country. The team also made it to the BUCS Northern Conference Cup finals.

This year’s Roberts Athlete of the year award went to Triathlon’s Sam Dickinson, one of the Universities Sports Scholars. Sam claimed 1st place in the Time Trial Qualifier at the 2016 Kitzbuhel ETU Triathlon Junior European Cup, and 1st in the main Triathlon event. He also took 1st in the 2016 Holten ETU Triathlon Junior European Cup, and 8th in the 2016 ITU World Triatlon Grand Final Cozumel. Sam also achieved Gold in the BUCS Sprint Triathlon 2016 beating Gordon Benson, GB triathlete and Leeds Alumni in the process. He’s definitely one to watch for the future.

Sam Dickinson posing with trophy

Rugby League were the winners of this years Team of the Year, who’s award has now been renamed in memory of James Burke who tragically passed away in April this year. Rugby League are one of the few teams at Leeds that currently compete in the BUCS Premier division. This year they finished an impressive 3rd behind Leeds Beckett and Northumbria, their best league finish in over 10 years. They reached the BUCS Championship semi-finals narrowly missing out on the finals to league winners Northumbria. The team were also victorious in a new event this year, the Yorkshire Varsity, which took place at the Headingley Stadium against a side made up of the best students from across Yorkshire Universities.

Rugby League team posing for a photo with trophy

The Chief Executive of Leeds University Union, Aidan Grills took to the stage to present the final and most hotly anticipated award of the evening, Club of the Year. For the second year running, Women’s Hockey, were announced winners of this award having sent in an impressive nomination excelling in all criteria for the award. The 24 strong club committee efficiently manages 8 teams and uses its strength in numbers to boast as a leading society for charity fundraising. They have created their own website and have been heavily involved with getting involved in the community with their annual ‘Quicksticks’ tournament. Not only that but they have continued to develop relationships with alumni and aid player personal development opportunities with their ‘Hockey Works’ scheme. Congratulations ladies on a well deserved award!

Womens hockey club on stage collecting winners trophy

Gryphons Take Gold at BUCS Regatta

Boat House

On the 29th of April, the University of Leeds Boat Club headed to the National Water Sports Centre in Nottingham for the annual British Universities and Colleges (BUCS) Regatta. The Gryphons were out in full force turning out 14 boats across all 4 of their squads.

To prepare for the weekend, the senior squads headed over to Lake Vyrnwy in Wales over the Easter break for a training camp, whilst the others continued their grueling training regime. The hard work and training paid off in particular in the Novice Women’s Single Sculls for Tara, who claimed 1st place and a BUCS gold medal!

Tara from UOLBC with gold medal

Results of all finals can be seen below:

Saturday 29th

Mens Intermediate Lightweight 1x, C Final – 4th

Mens Intermediate 8+, C Final – 5th

Womens Beginner 1x, A Final – Gold

Mens Beginner 4x, A Final – 4th

 

Sunday 30th

Womens Beginner 4+, D Final – 1st

Mens Intermediate 2x (a), C Final – 6th

Mens Intermediate 2x (b) , E Final – 5th

Mens Beginner 8+, C Final – 5th

Mens Intermediate 4+, E Final – 1st

 

Monday 1st

Womens Intermediate 4+, D Final – 1st

Womens BUCS 8+, E Final – 1st

Womens Intermediate 2x, C Final – 2nd

Mens Beginner 1x (a), A Final – 6th

Mens Beginner 1x (b), B Final – 5th