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Varsity 2017: Hundreds of staff and students help launch sporting series

Sports clubs at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) have been sent into battle with their fierce rivals the University of Leicester (UoL) after a rousing rally officially launching the 2017 Varsity series.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Dominic Shellard and De Montfort Students’ Union (DSU) President Dan Winney threw down the ‘Dare to Win’ gauntlet to hundreds of students and staff in attendance at The Venue@DMU.

Varsity Rally 2

And after DMU’s best British University and College Sports (BUCS) season to date, there is real optimism that this could be the first ever #TeamDMU Varsity victory over the UoL in the competitions 25 year history.

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Speaking at the launch, Dan Winney, said: “I stand here as the first President of DSU in the history of the series, who can outright say that we, the noisy neighbours (DMU) have a real chance of winning.

“I believe we can do it and I hope you do too. I hope you’re looking ahead to your fixture and wanting to write your name into the history books.

“You’ve been working hard week-in, week-out not only for your own benefit, but for the benefit of your team mates and the 24,000 DMU students you are lucky enough to represent.”

Varsity Rally 1

Kicking off the event was an energetic performance from the DMU Saints Cheerleading squad, before Dan Winney welcomed students and staff to the opening of the pinnacle of the university sporting calendar.

Professor Shellard spoke of the dramatic transformation of sport that DMU has witnessed this last year and also announced further sporting developments confirmed for the future, including a new 4G pitch for our rugby, lacrosse and American football clubs.

He said: “You are all on the verge of making history and being part of a massive transformation in our sporting success.

“Our coaches and strength and conditioning sessions have revolutionised our approach, bringing a great deal of professionalism to our sporting provision.

“The Twitter chatter began weeks ago; now we get to do our talking on the pitch and for you to create that winning mentality.”

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Varsity Rally 4

Also highlighted was the success of the Men’s Rugby Club who thwarted the University of Northampton last Wednesday, clinching #TeamDMU’s first ever BUCS Cup title. Women’s Hockey were also recognised for their 100% league record and cup run, despite a final defeat.

Professor Shellard said: “When I went to Loughborough University last week to watch the rugby final, one thing that was evident was the strength and stamina difference we had over our opposition.

“This is that winning mentality coming to life and I want you all to take that into this Varsity series.

“This year we’ve reached over highest ever BUCS position, 71st and we have more than 100 points more than this time last year and with two sides looking to clinch titles this Wednesday, we have a real chance of breaking into the top 70.”

Varsity Rally 3

Following the speeches, Dan unveiled the 2017 Varsity trailer which received an extremely loud reaction from those in attendance.

The trailer features seven heroes, sporting stars from a variety of sports including some students who have benefited from the unique Vice-Chancellor’s Sports Scholarship Scheme.

The inspiration for the trailer comes from DMU’s TV ad campaign, ‘Dare to Do’, standing proud as a community, a sporting community and highlighting how DMU has really transformed its game in the last 12 months.

Dan then introduced representatives from each of the competing clubs who received rapturous applause from the crowd.

Students were also invited to sign the Varsity 2017 pledge, promoting competition in the spirit of true sportsmanship, fair play and respect and the respect of all competitors regardless of race, gender, sexuality or ethnicity. 

Closing the event, the Vice-Chancellor said: “Dare to Win- and you will.”

You can keep with events right across the Varsity series through TwitterFacebook and Snapchat accounts, and follow the story using #DareToWin and #TeamDMU on social media. There’s also a dedicated Varsity 2017 webpage.

Posted on Tuesday 14th March 2017

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