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High flyers land at Team Newcastle

Newcastle University is aiming to cement its Top 10 BUCS ranking with the recruitment of top athletes from around the world.

25 October 2019

Team Newcastle welcomed 143 sports scholars across 19 sports for the 2019/20 academic year. This contributed to our bid to sustain our position as a leading performance sport university.

Our Sports Department welcomed the students to the University at a special event. The Performance Sport Team and the Director of Sports Services, Colin Blackburn, attended the event.

Colin said: “This year we received 375 applications and selected 143 Sports Scholars across 19 sports. This has only been possible through support from the University and commercial sponsors, Sir Robert McAlpine and Newcastle Sports Injury Clinic.”

Nick Bennett competes in the BUCS river race 2018-19

Colin added: “The Sports Scholarship awards are about excellence. They aim at ensuring that our student athletes maximise their sporting and academic potential whilst at Newcastle. We wish all our scholars every success as they begin their 2019/20 BUCS campaigns. The challenge for the scholars of 2019 is to surpass 2018 and to build on our top 10 BUCS ranking.”

Each sports scholar receives professional coaching, strength and conditioning support, physiotherapy, massage and lifestyle support.

Competitive kayaking at Newcastle

Competitive kayaker Nick Bennett, from Hathersage in the Peak District, is one of the 2019/20 sports scholars. The medical student said: “The Newcastle University Canoe Club is great. I wasn’t really focused on competitive kayaking before I came to Newcastle. The whole Newcastle Sports team and our Canoe coach Chris, along with club members, really fostered my interest in racing. They supported me to develop and train in a professional manner. I’ve been super impressed with the attitude and support of the university sport program. I’m sure it will only get better with the new sports facilities.

“I came to study to Newcastle University firstly for the academics. Newcastle is one of only a handful of universities that offers a four-year accelerated medical degree program for graduates. The medical school has a really good national reputation.

“Secondly, I knew other kayakers who had been through Newcastle. So I knew there were good rivers not too far away, and the Tees Barrage White Water Complex. I had seen some of the support they had received during their time at the University. It helped them to develop as athletes. Phil Mitchell came 11th at the Extreme Kayak World Champs in the year after he graduated from Newcastle.”

Nick is gearing up for the BUCS River Race. He hopes to win a third gold medal in the Classic (long distance) race in as many years.

Newcastle Knights basketball team

David Labossiere is from Boston, Massachusetts in the USA. He has joined the Newcastle Knights basketball team. The combo guard will balance playing for the first team with studying on a postgraduate International Business Management.

He said: “My experience with Newcastle Knights is going very well. We are off to a great start for the season. It’s been a great experience so far with Newcastle sport. What I really enjoy the most is playing with people from different backgrounds and cultures. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience playing basketball and studying in another country.

“The main difference between basketball here and in the USA is the flow of the game. I was surprised by a few rules that are different over here from the States. The academics and athletics were a key part of coming to Newcastle. What attracted me most was I wanted to have a great social experience in another country. I’d heard nothing but great things about Newcastle University and the city. I am looking forward to the playoffs. This year we have really great potential to do something big.”

Highest BUCS points for Newcastle University

Last year, Newcastle University finished ninth out of 160 institutions in the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) table. We scored 2,542 points, 1,350 league points and 1,192 points through individual, knockout and cup competitions. This was the fourth successive Top 10 finish, and Newcastle University's highest-ever BUCS points total.