By Rohan Mapara LLB Law & Holly Sampson BA Middle Eastern Studies and World Philosophies
This year Varsity returns for the third time, bigger and better! Kicking off on Monday, 25 February with Rugby in the evening, we are in for a tight competition after a narrow win by SOAS last year.
Varsity is a multi-match competition between two rival universities. The competition is confined to a certain time frame, which is three days for us, and contains a jam-packed schedule of different sports matches. The Varsity that SOAS competes in is called the North London Varsity and our rival university is London Met. The kind of sports that you can expect to see range from pool and video games to rugby and netball. There are badminton, tennis and volleyball teams that compete as well as women’s rugby.
London Met is a fierce competitor against SOAS and, although we often play at their facilities, we always have massive amounts of support to rival their home advantage. Despite being a third of the size of London Met, SOAS Sports and their supporters always put on a fantastic show and Varsity is always an incredibly close result, with an exciting match to end the three-day tournament with cheerleaders and all!
This year Varsity will be taking place from 25 to 27 February at a variety of locations. If you want to be kept up to date on all the latest timings, locations and results make sure you are following SOAS Sports on Instagram and Facebook! Another aspect of Varsity which everyone gets excited about are the opening and closing parties. Once more, SOAS will be hosting the opening party on 20 February and London Met will be in charge of throwing an epic closing party on 27 February.
Anybody can take part in Varsity, which is part of the reason why it is so great. We will need people to compete in teams that only form for Varsity, such as pool, as well as for the teams that already compete regularly. So, if you are interested in taking part, keep an eye out for details on the SOAS Sports social media accounts. Varsity is a great thing to come along and watch, but it is an even better experience to participate in—and you get a free t-shirt!
Where Varsity goes, so does the gossip and drama. Each year there are exciting matches and tantalising moments when scores tot up as the competition progresses. The netball match last year had everyone on the edge of their seats as the score at final time was 39-39. However, with it being Varsity, there is no way that this match could be left as a tie. Extra time was added and everyone held their breath to see the results. Unfortunately, it was not in our favour but the excitement of the match and the quality of play by the Netball team meant that it was one of the most memorable and most watched matches of last year.
Last year also saw us tackle not only the London Met Sea of Red, but also the Beast from the East. With supporters having to walk to London Met facilities, matches that could be played indoors continued and had a large supporter base. However, due to matches such as Rugby and Football being cancelled, there was a debate about the final score of Varsity last year, and it is still debated about who won. This means that this year, these teams are keen to show what they are capable of and to prove who should have won Varsity 2018.
As the badminton captain, I am excited to compete in Varsity this year. This year, if we can hold it together and get a win, it will be our third Varsity victory in a row after two 9-0 victories in the last two years. After a season of ups and downs this would be a great way to finish, Varsity is one our biggest events of the year and we always enjoy competing against the London Met badminton team.
This year we need everyone to get behind the SOAS Warriors and provide support at every event from rugby to pool; every point counts towards taking down London Met’s Sea of Red in style! As both sides have won Varsity once, it is even more important this year that we secure that win. So, if you around from 25to 27 February, get involved and come along to support your fellow students in the biggest sporting event of the year!