Scholars’ Welcome gathering shows MMU Sport ready to compete with the best

  • 55 new scholars announced at start of new academic year
  • Gearing up for Olympics next year in Japan

Manchester Metropolitan University’s transformation into one of the UK’s elite sports centres has been amazing and inspirational to watch in recent years, but this year’s intake suggests something very special may be on the cards.

The new intake of 55 MMU Sports Scholars gathered at the Business School to hear plans for the sporting season ahead – which include competing in the national University championships in European competitions, at GB trials and for places in the sports teams going to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

Wearing the orange and blue of MMU for the next year are elite cyclists, gymnasts, swimmers, lacrosse players, basketball players, applying their minds and bodies to perform well in the sports arena and also in their academic studies.

They are supported and developed by a highly-qualified team of strength, conditioning and nutrition experts, to help them peak when it really matters – when facing competition from their sporting rivals.

Leading MMU’s Performance Sport team is Callum Jones, who has shaped recruitment of the latest intake of athletes.

Among the hotly tipped additions to the ‘blorange’ are GB international basketball player Dominique Allen, a Commonwealth silver medallist in 2018 and an Olympian at London 2012 and 19-year-old sprint cyclist Georgia Holt from Leicester, who was only fractions of a second from qualifying for the GB team.

Callum said: “We’ve spent a few years preparing to be an elite sports university – working on the academic provision, the research and the service side of sport.

“All those elements have come into place in the last year so now we can monitor performance and see where we can improve it, identify areas for development, work on applying the latest science to treat injuries, speed up rehabilitation and improve conditioning.

“We’re recruiting some very serious athletes now. Every year the bar is getting higher and higher, to the extent that we might have six or seven athletes going to Tokyo in 2020.

“People know we’re here now and we’ve got great relationships with national governing bodies of sport, with the professional sports clubs in this region and we’re getting very good athletes through our recruitment in colleges and from clubs.

“What’s also been important has been raising our profile through social media and the Sports Journalists at MMU. People know about the sporting success stories at MMU – and now we’re going to show what we can do”.

Not all 55 scholars could be there. One face missing was that of 24-year-old snowsports specialist Rowan Cheshire, a two times Winter Olympian and vastly experienced at international competitions.

Vince Hunt teaches Sports Journalism at Man Met