Top coach on 'athletes' city' Leeds as our Tokyo 2020 Olympics success continues

Leeds has a growing reputation as an 'athletes' city' according to a top coach as more competitors who study and train in Leeds prepare to compete at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Thursday, 29th July 2021, 4:45 am

A total of 18 athletes from Leeds Beckett University - including triathlon silver medalist Alex Yee - are competing in Tokyo alongside athletes who grew up in the city.

The Carnegie School of Sport at the university has offered its world-class facilities and expertise to athletes in preparation for the Games.

Ex Leeds Beckett student Andrew Henderson, who is head athletics coach at the university, has spoken about what makes Leeds a favourite destination for top athletes and what it takes to get on the podium at the Ol Leeds has a growing reputation as an 'athletes' city' according to a top coach as more competitors who study and train in Leeds prepare to compete at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

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Alex Yee

Andrew, a former national level runner, has been a coach at Leeds Beckett for 20 years and was there when Alistair and Jonny Brownlee were starting out in triathlon.

Andrew, of Horsforth, said Leeds Beckett University and the University of Leeds are two of the big attractions drawing athletes to Leeds.

The Leeds Triathlon Centre is an initiative between the University of Leeds, Leeds Beckett University and British Triathlon.

The University of Leeds provides top class swimming facilities at The Edge, along with cycling facilities at The Brownlee Centre.

Andrew Henderson

The Athletics Centre at Leeds Beckett provides year round training facilities.

Andrew said Leeds has top class facilities and coaching, but the city itself also attracts young athletes.

"The running is great around here," Andrew said. "There is the canal and you can go off road through the Meanwood Valley trail, which is on your doorstep.

"Having these performance centres here, we will definitely attract more and as our groups get stronger it will attract good quality athletes.

"We are becoming more known as an athletes' city. People are talking about Leeds, especially in triathlon and athletics now."

Andrew also spoke about what gives top athletes the edge.

"The biggest thing is the mentality," he said. "I just think it is a win at all costs.

"When it hurts they are able to work through it. They can do that extra bit more than some of the others can't."

Among current students are Alex Yee, who is studying BSc (Hons) Sports and Exercise Science at Leeds Beckett,.

Alex finished second in the men’s triathlon in Tokyo in his debut Olympic Games.

Honorary Graduate Jonny Brownlee came fifth in his final Olympic Games, having confirmed that Tokyo 2020 will be his last.

Former Leeds Beckett student Georgia Taylor-Brown won silver in the women’s triathlon on Monday night, competing alongside Leeds-based triathlete Jess Learmonth who was ninth.

Leeds Beckett alumni and Team GB women's footballer Lucy Bronze is competing in Tokyo,

And former student Lauren Smith has qualified for the quarter finals in the badminton mixed doubles.

Pudsey and Bramley Athletics club runner Alex Bell - a former Leedes Beckett student - is set to compete in the women's 800 metres at Tokyo alongside Leeds Beckett first year criminology student Keeley Hodgkinson.

Former Leeds Becket students Tom Bosworth and Callum Wilkinson will take part in race walking in Tokyo.

Ex Leeds Beckett student Emily Campbell is competing in weightlifting at the Olympics and Leeds Beckett talent hub athlete Lizzie Bird will compete in the steeplechase.

On Monday Matty Lee, a 23-year-old diver from Leeds won gold alongside Tom Daley in the men’s 10m synchro.

Also on Monday, Tom Pidcock, 21, another Leeds Olympian, won the Olympic gold medal in mountain bike cross-country.