We at Impact like to get your sporting news straight out of the horses mouth. And they don’t come much more thoroughbred than the Notts Uni AU Officer, Phil Richards. Impact was given a rare interview with the guy who’s running the entire sporting outlook of our Uni for the upcoming year.

Impact: Can you describe your personal role as AU Officer in 5 words or less?

Phil: Encouraging Sport For All

Impact: That’s quality little AU tagline, I’d patent that! For many of us who don’t actually know, what is the Athletics Union?

Phil: Basically it encompasses everything that is sport at Nottingham – from the inter-mural (hall and society teams) leagues to the British University Sports Association (BUSA) clubs and all those competing teams representing the University around the country. It’s from grass-roots, through to elite level.

Impact: Freshers may have heard about Loughborough’s numerous sporting stars, but we have our fair share at Nottingham, do we not?

Phil: Definitely, we came 5th in BUSA last year, which was a tremendous effort. We had over 20 athletes recognised with national awards, including Emma Beddos, a squash player who was named BUSA Sportswoman of the year! We also have a GB Swimmer and potential Olympic hopeful in Katherine Wyld.

Impact: So what sporting opportunities are out there for the students at Nottingham Uni?

Phil: Lots. Whether you want to represent the University on a national level or are happy with the competitive banter of the intra-mural leagues, there are sports and activities tailored to every taste. I am also hoping to encourage more inter-hall sports events, perhaps with the help of Karni, particularly targeting the summer months.

Impact: You made a lot of pledges before your election, what are your plans to improve sport at the Uni this year?

Phil: A big concentration for myself and Mark Epps (outgoing AU officer), has been the sports centre fees. There will now be a tiered system with the Bronze package allowing you sports centre benefits such as squash, badminton and astro-turf pitch hire (now free for members!). The Silver includes the Swimming Pool too, while the Gold adds in the gym membership. I am also looking to improve the intra-mural leagues, including enabling all players to view their fixtures/leagues/scorers details online every week. The inter-site element of our university ( sporting inclusion of students who live on the campuses other than University Park )will also feature very highly, as I am very aware that this area of university sport has been much marginalized over the years, and is an ever growing part of our university.
(All details of membership fees and how to pay can be found on the new look AU website)

Impact: What about the faltering AU Wednesday night at Isis, any fresh ideas?

Phil: It’s important that our AU night stirs up University spirit like it used too. So I’m pleased to announce that the new AU Wednesday night will be at Gatecrasher. It should enable us to get better deals for our sports teams and societies. The club will have a huge screen at the back of the dance-floor enabling us to project scores, photos and general banter onto the big screen during the night, to make it much better than before. There are also plans for the creation of a specific AU Bar in the city centre – a place to socialise before the big one at Gatecrasher.

Impact: One of the most exciting sporting events at Nottingham Uni is the charity varsity series against Nottingham Trent. Can you give our freshers a brief insight?

Phil: The Uni -Trent rivalry is a passionate but healthy one which culminates in the varsity series in the summer term. Men and women’s teams compete against their counterparts at Trent, with the events being held at Nottingham’s great sporting venues including Trent Bridge, the Ice Arena and Meadow Lane. We won the 2007 series 6-5 and I’m hoping for a similar result in 2008 or I’ll be in for some stick from the Trent AU Officer. All gate receipts go to charity with approximately £3500 being raised for Cerebral Palsy Sport in the 2007 series.

Impact: Have you got a parting word or perhaps a good old fashioned cheesy message for our new freshers?

Phil: The more involved you get in the university and SU, the more you will get out of your university life – the opportunities you get at Nottingham are unique, and you will never have a better chance to play sport and explore all the options available to you!

Mark Lomas

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