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SPORTICIPATE in action. Photo: SPORT Manchester

University sport – what’s the deal?

Are you interested in joining a sport but don’t know where to start? Do you want to play but don’t necessarily want the competition of the University teams? We’re here to help you figure out exactly where to go. Whether you’re interested in the Maths Football team or the the Aikido club, there’s certainly something for everyone.

Throughout the university there are 42 sports societies that belong to the AU (that’s the Athletics Union), and these encompass 38 different sports, so whether you’re looking for trampolining, rugby, or even korfball, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for. Out of these societies, some also compete in BUCS (British Universities and College Sport), which runs leagues and competitions throughout the year, which is great if you’re interested in playing competitively. More locally, many clubs also take part in the Christie Championship, where students from the Universities of Manchester, Leeds, and Liverpool all fight for the glory of the coveted Christie Cup. If you want to show everyone who truly is the best northern university, this is the competition for you. Spoiler alert, it’s definitely us.

Campus sports is a great place to get started – there are around 130 teams made up of groups from courses, halls, and groups of friends. If you’re looking to play competitively without the pressure of the uni sides, this is the place to start. Leagues and competitions are still organised, but they’re a bit more low-key than the likes of BUCS and the Christie Championship. However, they’re still a lot of fun and are a great way to keep fit, whilst making new course friends and meeting people in your accommodation.

If you’re looking for beginner level sports, and are looking for something less competitive than either campus or club sports, then the university runs a great programme every year called Sporticipate, which provides over 60 hours a week of sports – all completely free. Whether it’s a weekly drop in session or a more structured ‘Learn-to’ programme you’re interested in, Sporticipate will be there every week for you to partake in. The timetable changes each semester, so make sure you check on the University Sport website for an up-to-date version. This semester, you can try your hand at water polo, squash, kickboxing, and indoor cricket, amongst others. Sporticipate also offers women-only and men-only times for some sports such as swimming and dodgeball.

Another great way to keep fit at uni is to join the gym! There are a few different options – for everyone living in the Fallowfield area, both the Armitage and The Gym offer student deals for a nine-month period, costing £120 for the Armitage, including free classes and access at peak hours, and The Gym costing £134 for the same. For those closer to the city centre, there are a whole host of options including PureGym, The Gym, and Anytime Fitness.

Cachella Smith, a fourth-year English Literature and French student and member of the cross-country society, said “sport is an amazing way to meet like-minded people at Uni and have conversations that don’t revolve around studies, exams, and deadlines. It also allows you to work towards a sense of achievement that isn’t directly academic.” Whatever you choose, joining a sport during your time at uni is a great way to keep fit, make new friends, and relax after a long day of lectures.

Tags: aikido, Armitage, BUCS, Christie Cup, Football, gym, Sport, sporticipate

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