Elite sports coaches, practitioners and academic specialists from China met the University of Leeds’ famous alumni Jonny and Alistair Brownlee this week as part of a two-week international development programme hosted by the University of Leeds.
The Chinese Olympic team chose Leeds as its pre-Olympic training camp ahead of the 2012 London Olympics and the wide-ranging conference included visits to the a variety of sports venues, the University’s sports science laboratories, as well as a range of lectures and discussions delivered by elite sports professionals who are based in Leeds including GB coaches Malcolm Brown (GB Triathlon) and Ady Hinchliffe (GB Diving) about the latest enhancements in the sports coaching, sports science and sports medicine.
Rob Wadsworth, head of sport at the University of Leeds, said: “We’re very privileged to be able to host such an important delegation of academics and sports science specialists from China. It’s testimony to our reputation as a centre of excellence for sport and the quality of our facilities here.”
Leeds was ranked third in the recent Research Excellence Framework, the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions, with 97 per cent of the research deemed of international four-star standard – this statistic is the best in the country.
Head of the Chinese delegation Xia Lunhao, vice director general of Sports Officials Training Centre of General Administration of Sport and vice president, Beijing Sports University, said: “I am very pleased to bring the China top 100 outstanding young sports professionals and technical personnel training programme to the University of Leeds.
“After the success of the Chinese Olympic Committee’s Pre Games Training Camp here in 2012, I am sure our delegation will gain a great deal from their time in this great city.”
Conference delegates discussed the continued development of sport in the UK, building on the huge enthusiasm enjoyed during the 2012 Olympics, focusing on British Cycling, GB Diving, England Hockey and best practice in physiotherapy and sports psychology.
Rob said: “Since the 2012 London Olympics, there’s a lot of evidence to show what a positive impact it has had on the University. We’ve seen a year-on-year increase in participation in sport and physical activity programmes by students and to our state-of-the-art sports facilities with more than a million visits by students and local people alike in the past year.
“We’ve also established a Brownlee Scholarship with a coaching and training programme as well as a professional development programme which includes community and schools volunteering and placements.”
And, following the huge success of hosting some of the Chinese Olympic team for its pre-Olympic training camp, the University signed a partnership with Beijing Sports University which has resulted in staff exchanges, training camps and collaborative research.
From this month, the University is hosting Professor Wen Yuhong, Professor of Swimming at Beijing University, who will work with academics and sports staff from the University for the next academic year.
One of the largest recruiters of international students in the UK, the University has excellent links with China, particularly cultural and educational institutions in the country.