The Institute of Sport brings together all the University sporting activities, including degree courses, multi-million facilities, research, staff expertise and participation in sport for students, staff and the community.
Heptathlete Denise visited the University on Monday (27 October 2014) to launch the Institute, which aims to inspire the next generation of sports professionals, and also to rename two buildings on the Walsall Campus.
The home of the Institute of Sport has become the William Penny Brookes building, honouring the man who created and delivered the first Olympian Games in 1850 in Much Wenlock. Another building has been named after the writer Jerome K Jerome, who was born in Walsall and is best known for his travelogue Three Men in a Boat.
Denise, who was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters by the University in September, said: “I am delighted and proud to be here to celebrate the grand opening of the Institute of Sport. Having competed at the highest level in sport for many years, I know the importance of creating an environment where talent can thrive and excel. In these state-of-the-art facilities, University of Wolverhampton students can do just that.
“The students who choose to pursue a life in sport have the chance to thrive and enhance their own personal learning experience. This is a significant step forward for the University, which has always had sport at its heart. That passion extends not only to its students and alumni, but also to the community.”
Vice-Chancellor, Professor Geoff Layer, said: “The launch of the Institute of Sport is a momentous occasion for the University and the communities we work within. Universities are anchors in the areas in which they preside, and by bringing together all of our sporting provision we aim to enhance participation and excellence in sport for our students, staff and communities.”
The University has invested in facilities at its Walsall Campus to ensure it offers some of the leading sporting facilities in the country. These include a 12-court sports hall, floodlit synthetic athletics track and football pitch, plus a 20m x 10m swimming pool, tennis courts, and extensive sports fields.
In addition there are a well-equipped set of physiology, biomechanics and social science labs, which are used for teaching and for sport, exercise, and health related research. The facilities include a scanner which tests bone health and is used to provide advice about body composition and potential injury risks to professional footballers and elite athletes.
The Campus is also home to the £1 million British Judo Centre of Excellence, which Denise Lewis opened in November last year.
As well as ensuring students have access to state-of-the-art equipment and can learn in a high quality environment, the University has an important role in the community and the facilities serve the local region.
Director of the Institute of Sport, Kay Biscomb, added: “The launch event for the Institute of Sport was an historic moment for the University of Wolverhampton, bringing together all of our sporting provision to provide a strategic lead for sport within the University.”
Denise, who is from Wolverhampton, won gold at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and is now a highly respected commentator for BBC Sport.
Denise received an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters from the University in September, recognising her sporting success and charity work.
She established the British record of 6831, was inducted into the UK Athletics Hall of Fame in 2011 and in July 2012, carried the Olympic Flame on its Torch Relay across the UK.
Since her retirement in 2005, Denise has continued to be actively involved in athletics, writing for the Telegraph and becoming a highly respected commentator for BBC Sport, working on the London 2012 Olympics and most recently the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
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