Exemplary sport at York

With a raft of new facilities, training and support now available for sporting students, we find out more about why York is the place for those with sporting ambition.

Just two years after the University of York was founded, our sportsmen and women claimed victory over Lancaster at the first ever Roses Tournament in 1965.

Students playing basketball
Students playing basketball

Today, with some of the finest facilities in the North, our students have really upped their game. Last year’s Roses Tournament demonstrated that we are a force to be reckoned with. York’s recent University Varsity victory over Durham – for the first time in the tournament’s three-year history – provides further testament.

The University’s 63 thriving sports clubs and societies – as well as the local community – have benefited hugely from the £9m York Sport Village facility that opened on Campus East in 2012. The latest addition to the York Sport Village – a 250m Olympic-sized outdoor Velodrome cycling facility – is attracting national talent, and has opened up expert training and tracks to cyclists across the North.

Unsurprisingly our University is attracting more sporting scholars. By supporting scholarships such as the Elite Sport Scholarships from Santander Universities, and the alumni Sports Development Fund, we are helping more sporting students achieve their ambitions and securing York’s future as a hub of sporting excellence. Of course, we all benefit from their skills when it comes to national competitions – and keeping our Roses trophy where it belongs in Yorkshire.

Athletics facility

A new county-standard athletics facility was completed in June 2015. The project features an eight-lane track and grass infield, built to meet UK Athletics and IAAF specifications. The facility is open to the whole York community and is home to the City of York Athletics Club. The facility is a valuable addition to York’s existing sports provision. A new pavilion and spectator stand with supporting facilities for the new athletics track at the University was officially opened by Dame Kelly Holmes in April this year.

Open access basketball court

A new open access basketball court has been opened between Langwith and Constantine Colleges on Campus East. The court replaces the old facilities at James College, which have made way for the new athletics track.


Our 250 metre outdoor tarmac velodrome opened as the Tour de France kicked off in Yorkshire. The £1.1m development on Campus East supplements the existing road cycle circuit, providing facilities for York’s track cyclists, who previously had to travel to Manchester to train. Construction was funded by British Cycling and the University.

Get involved

York Alumni Association, together with the Students’ Union and York Sport, host an annual cycle ride, YuCycle, to fund student sports bursaries. Now in its fourth year, the ride attracts over 200 people from the University and local community, all riding in aid of sporting bursaries. You can also get sponsored and support your favourite charity. Visit the YuCycle website for details.

The velodrome, York Sport Village, Heslington East
The Velodrome, York Sport Village, Heslington East

The business of sport

At York Alumni Association’s ‘Business in Sport’ Network event last November, network members got the chance to chart the current climate of the sporting sector and to explore the breadths of the panel’s sporting experience. Hosted by Greg Dyke and chaired by Nicky Roche CBE, history graduate and member of the Board of UK Sport, the event also included two recent York Sport Presidents, Sam Asfahani, now a senior specialist for NBA marketing in Europe, and Cass Brown, Sport Team Executive at Cancer Research UK and alumnus Edward Gillespie (OBE), who managed Cheltenham Racecourse for 32 years.

Our elite sports scholars

Thanks to a generous gift from Santander Universities, the University, along with the student-run York Sport Union, award high-level support to two elite student athletes each year. Each scholarship is worth £5,000, and the purpose is to enhance their sporting careers to the very highest calibre and inspire others with their sporting success. 2015 saw rower Steph Clutterbuck and middle-distance runner Bobbi Philips receive their awards from England football manager Roy Hodgson. 2016’s Santander Elite Athletes are kayaker Nick Romain and discus thrower Sarah Parsons. Find out more here: Santander at York.