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Event celebrates partnership opening of new world-class sports facilities


An event celebrating the University of Wolverhampton’s long-standing partnership with the British Judo Association was held recently as the doors were officially opened on new world-class sports facilities. 

The British Judo Association’s Centre of Excellence is based at the University’s Walsall Campus and sits alongside the University’s sports education and research facilities that support the wide range of sports degrees on offer. 

The University’s Institute of Human Sciences and British Judo Association have worked in partnership for ten years, with the collaboration now extended until 2032. 

The recent investment was given planning permission earlier this year to extend specialist sport facilities to support Olympic and Paralympic athletes based in the West Midlands. 

The new development includes dedicated physiotherapy facilities providing world class science and medical support to athletes as part of the British Judo Association’s partnership with the English Institute of Sport. 

The new 12-year agreement ensures the Centre of Excellence will remain on the Walsall Campus for the next three Olympic cycles, preparing athletes for Paris 2024, Los Angeles 2028 and beyond. The next focus for the centre will be the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, and the partnership provides further endorsement for the Walsall Campus as a place of sporting excellence for elite athletes. 

Geoff Layer, Vice-Chancellor at the University, said: “We have been home to the British Judo Association’s elite programme for more than five years now, and last year supported their hosting of the Commonwealth Judo Championships on our campus.  

“We are delighted to be able to celebrate our collective achievements at this event, including providing amazing new world-class facilities to support both local athletes and students as they continue on their sporting journey.” 

Ronnie Saez, British Judo Association, said: “"The University has been home to our Olympic and Paralympic programme since the Rio cycle and I am delighted to extend our partnership with the University until 2032. 

"Since being based on the site, we have seen the programme claim a multitude of medals on the European and World stages and I can't wait to see the team compete in Tokyo. 

"The extension will make a huge difference to the athletes and their training schedules as we look forward to the 2022 Commonwealth Games and beyond!" 


The event also focused on the new 12-year partnership between the two organisations as well as providing a platform to wish the Olympic and Paralympic judo teams based at the University’s Walsall Campus good luck at the forthcoming Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. 

Two University of Wolverhampton students have been chosen to represent Team GB in the judo competition at the Tokyo Olympic Games.  

Chelsie Giles, studying for a Business Management degree in the University’s Business School, will make her Olympic debut in Tokyo having topped the podium at the Tel Aviv Grand Slam before winning silver at the Tbilisi Grand Slam. Giles travels to Tokyo seeded eighth. Chelsie was a 2019 European Games bronze medallist. 

Lucy Renshall, a Sports Coaching degree student, had the most challenging qualification of the six after defeating three fighters all vying for the one -63kg qualification spot at the start of the year. Renshall secured her qualification with a gold medal at the Antalya Grand Slam following a fifth-place finish at the Tbilisi Grand Slam and will travel to Tokyo as an Olympic debutant. 

The extension of the partnership with British Judo follows the recently announced partnership with Sandwell Council that will enable students to study and train at their new £73m Aquatics Centre, and the £1m refurbishment of the University’s sports laboratories that now include a state of the art climate chamber. 

Anyone looking to study at the University of Wolverhampton should register for one of our forthcoming Open Days.  


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