Alumni sports stars of the University of Nottingham have celebrated the official opening of the David Ross Sports Village.
Olympic table tennis champion Dr Deng Yaping and gold medal-winning canoeists, Dr Tim Brabants MBE and Etienne Stott MBE, were among the line-up of sporting legends who joined fellow alumni David Ross and UK Sport CEO Liz Nicholl for the celebrations.
The £40 million sports village is a state-of-the-art facility on University Park campus. It includes an indoor fencing salle, dance and spin studios, an all-glass squash court, an outdoor full-sized 3G rubber crumb pitch, tennis courts and gym.
Elite athletes can access a High Performance Zone which has a 60m six-lane indoor sprint track, a bespoke cardio training area, all supported by specialist strength and conditioning staff.
The Sports Village was made possible by a significant commitment from Nottingham alumnus and Carphone Warehouse founder — David Ross, who studied law at the University.
He said: “I am delighted to be here standing in this fine facility today and I’m confident that it will inspire generations of Nottingham sportsmen and sportswomen, from sporting greats at whatever level, to the enthusiastic amateur.
“It gives us all great pride to see the range of young children here today and we all hope it will inspire them on their sporting journey. So it gives me great pleasure to announce the start of the Sir David Greenaway Sport Scholarships. A scheme with a focus on targeting, inviting and getting the best sporting talent to come here.”
Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nottingham Professor Sir David Greenaway said the centre was the fitting environment to engage students and staff, whatever their interests, and inspire the sports stars of the future.
He said: “I’m delighted to see so many of our alumni here today to help mark the official opening of the David Ross Sports Village.
“From David Ross’ generous donation, to the support of our Olympians, the scope and scale of alumni talent is clear.
“To be successful at anything takes drive, grit, determination and practice. Our alumni have been showcasing these attributes for many years and I have followed their achievements with pride, knowing Nottingham may have laid the foundations for some of their successes.
“Today we celebrate a physical foundation, a complex of sporting facilities to be proud of and one which will inspire the next generation of athletes.”
The Sports Village also boasts a brand new Sports Injury Clinic that is on-hand to provide treatments such as hydrotherapy, acupuncture, specialist physiotherapy and sports massages, to staff, students, and the local community.
Before speeches an indoor hockey fixture saw current students play against a guest team. The match saw Olympic Gold medallist Rob Clift go head to head with his son Ali who was playing for the student team.
Meanwhile other well-known alumni showcased their own sporting prowess.
Dr Deng Yaping, who won four table-tennis Olympic championships between 1992 and 1996, gave her opinion on the new facilities.
She said: “I am honoured to return to my university after 15 years and be attending the opening ceremony of the David Ross Sports Village. As a former sportsperson I understand how sports play an important role in our lives.
“I am proud to hear that during the past years, the University of Nottingham has achieved greatly in sports performances, winning many national titles and ranked third in UK universities. Thanks to David Ross and his contribution to the University, I am sure that the opening of the new facility will continue to attract many students and athletes.”
Dr Tim Brabants MBE remains Great Britain’s most successful Olympic Canoeist and is one of the world’s most accomplished Men’s K1 sprint kayakers. He also inspired and trained further Nottingham students and alumni for London 2012, including Tim Baillie, who studied Mechanical Engineering at the University and two-time silver winner David Florence, who studied Mathematical Physics.
Tim, who retired from international competition in 2013 to continue his medical career, said: “The David Ross Sports Village is an amazing facility. When I came here as a student in 1996-2002 the facilities here were good but getting tired. These facilities show the University's commitment to athletes at all levels — from the top level all the way down into people getting into sport. Hopefully having facilities like this will encourage more students to come to Nottingham.”
The David Ross Sports Village is already well on its way to help deliver the University’s ambition to significantly increase participation in sports at all levels, as student clubs and teams have already been training and competing in the complex since it opened its doors late last year.
After the opening ceremony guests attended the University's Sporting Excellence Awards. The awards night saw Dr Tim Brabants and Dr Deng Yaping named as the first inductees into a Hall of Fame which will be displayed in the new sports village.
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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham has 43,000 students and is ‘the nearest Britain has to a truly global university, with a “distinct” approach to internationalisation, which rests on those full-scale campuses in China and Malaysia, as well as a large presence in its home city.’ (Times Good University Guide 2016). It is also one of the most popular universities in the UK among graduate employers and was named University of the Year for Graduate Employment in the 2017 The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide. It is ranked in the world’s top 75 by the QS World University Rankings 2015/16, and 8th in the UK for research power according to the Research Excellence Framework 2014. It has been voted the world’s greenest campus for four years running, according to Greenmetrics Ranking of World Universities.
Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest-ever fundraising campaign, is delivering the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news…