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30 April 2012
The third annual Universities Week campaign, which aims to increase public awareness of the wide and varied role of the UK’s universities, is this year taking an in-depth look at the contribution that our universities make – and have always made – to the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the sports industry and society as a whole.
As Universities Week commences, Cardiff has been featured in a new report which demonstrates higher education’s involvement in the UK’s Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The report, Olympic and Paralympic Games: The impact of universities, demonstrates the diverse contribution that universities are making to the 2012 Games, the overall impact on the UK sports industry and the work institutions and academics are doing around the Cultural Olympiad and 2012 legacy programme. The report showcases the University’s pre-Games training camp for athletes from South Africa who are preparing for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, just one of a number of training camps hosted by the University in the run up to the Games.
The report also reveals that more than 90 per cent* of the UK’s higher education sector are engaged with London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, with 65 per cent expecting to gain legacy benefits from their involvement.
Head of Sport and Exercise Stuart Vanstone hopes the South Africa team’s presence can be a huge advantage to staff and students. He said: "We’re hoping for some real legacy benefits from the pre-Games training camp. We hope there will be some engagement between athletes and students whilst they’re on campus. This might come in the form of questions and answers sessions and the delivery of some ‘give it a go’ sessions."
Other pre-Olympic activities involving staff and students include a trio of Torchbearers who have been chosen to represent the University as part of Samsung’s nomination programme for the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay.
The University has also recently welcomed promising boxing stars from underdeveloped nations to Wales to help give them the best possible chance of qualifying for the London Olympics. The boxers, who included women for the first time in Olympic history, attended a demanding Road to London’ training camp, run by the Amateur International Boxing Association and supported by the Welsh Amateur Boxing Association.
During the camp, physiotherapy support was provided by a team led by Dr Nicki Phillips of the School of Healthcare Studies.
Dr Phillips – who has been chief physiotherapist to Team GB at previous Olympic Games - is leading the ‘Physio’s supporting athletes across all abilities’ programme which is combining support for disabled and able-bodied sport by training qualified and student physiotherapists for London 2012.
Also taking place during Universities Week is the annual Welsh Varsity competition between Cardiff and rivals Swansea University. More than 200 students from both universities compete in events including golf, hockey and rowing – 20 different sports in total. The final event of the day will be the fight for the Varsity Rugby Cup. Played on the neutral ground of Wales’ Millennium Stadium, the match kicks off at 7.30pm.
Universities Week 2012 follows a successful campaign in 2011, which saw 110 universities and 52 renowned ambassadors take part in showcasing the work of the higher education sector.
Supporters can also find out more about the campaign by following @UniversitiesUK and #uniweek on Twitter.
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