October 26, 2015, by Dan Tilley
Nottingham is England’s Home of Sport
Last week Nottingham was announced as England’s official Home of Sport. The announcement came on the back of a national campaign run by the tourism board VisitEngland, and saw Nottingham beat the likes of Yorkshire, London and Manchester to the title. The decision was made on the back of an open national vote, and Nottingham secured 38% of the overall vote, reinforcing the popularity of the decision.
Nottingham has a fantastic sporting heritage that resonates through the city today. In terms of history, the city has the oldest football league club in the world, and it was in Nottingham that both shin pads and goal nets were used for the first time. Equally the city has some landmark venues with the National Watersports Centre, Trent Bridge and the National Ice Arena to name but a few. Furthermore the city has been home to a number of sporting legends from the likes of Torvill & Dean, to Brian Clough, Carl Froch and Richard Whitehead.
The University of Nottingham has always played an integral part within the city’s rich sporting tapestry. One of the ‘founding fathers’ of British Canoeing, John W Dudderidge OBE, was a student at the University and our first Olympian in 1936. It’s no surprise that Gareth Marriott who won the first ever Olympic medal for GB was from the University, and since then we have seen a who’s who of British Canoeing with the likes of Tim Brabants, Tim Baillie, Etienne Stott, Campbell Walsh and David Florence all gracing our university. However our list of sporting athletes is not restricted to canoeing with an array of Olympians including Table Tennis star Deng Yaping, voted China’s female athlete of the 20th century, hockey players such as Robert Clift a gold medallist in seoul 1988, as well as other hockey stars including Rob Moore, Anne Panter & Harry Martin to name but a few. There is also a rich crop of rowers currently vying for Rio selection such as Chris Bartley, Vicki Meyer-Laker, Melanie Wilson & Tina Stiller.
The University’s sporting reputation also has strong roots. The University was one of nine founders of what we now know as BUCS (the inter-university leagues), and the University ranks as the 4th most successful sporting university over the history of these leagues. This reputation is ever-growing and has recently seen the University enter a team in the inaugural National Badminton League, as well as securing the rights to host the European Archery Championships in 2016. Events like the Tri Campus Games, which sees the three University campuses in the UK, China and Malaysia also plays a part in reinforcing the University’s strong and unique sporting profile.
The university’s facilities are also an integral part of Nottingham’s sporting infrastructure: Riverside Sports Complex is the largest sportsground in the University sector, and the combination of the University’s facilities make us one of the largest providers in the city. The new David Ross Sports Village opening in Autumn 2016 will be a significant step change and will be one of the leading leisure facilities in the UK. There are exciting times ahead for University of Nottingham Sport, and all emanating from the Nation’s Home of Sport.