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Welsh Varsity 2015

20 April 2015

Swimmer at Varsity in pool competing

Team Cardiff set to take on Swansea and support Stonewall's #rainbowlaces campaign

The biggest student sporting event in Wales gets underway on 22nd April when students from Cardiff and Swansea Universities meet for the annual Varsity competition.

Entering its 19th year, the event sees more than 30 sports clubs from each university compete against each other for the Varsity Shield, culminating with the men's rugby match for the Varsity Cup.

Sports include rowing, cycling, cricket, polo and lacrosse.

This year, Welsh Varsity heads West to Swansea's Liberty Stadium and other venues around the city. More than 20,000 spectators are expected to cheer on their respective teams.

Cardiff University's Vice-Chancellor, Professor Colin Riordan said: "To be selected to compete in the Varsity Shield, the Welsh Boat Race or the Varsity Cup is a great achievement and I congratulate each of you who are taking part.

"I wish all competitors a safe and fair competition and the best of luck."

This year, students from both universities are supporting Stonewall's 'Rainbow Laces' campaign, which aims to tackle homophobia in sport and show support for gay players.

The Rainbow Laces campaign has received high-profile support from Welsh rugby legend Gareth Thomas, Stephen Fry, Gary Lineker, Thomas Hitzlsperger, Arsenal and Manchester City Football Club. Stonewall Cymru's research with Sport Wales reveals how one in three LGB people have experienced exclusion from sport because of their sexual orientation and three in four respondents reported hearing homophobic banter.

Luke Young, Campaigns Manager, Stonewall Cymru, said: 'By wearing Rainbow laces at the Welsh Varsity, Cardiff and Swansea students will be sending a strong message that a player's sexual orientation or gender identity should not be a barrier to taking part and that university sport is open to all. It's great news that both Cardiff and Swansea have stepped up to challenge homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in sport."

Bryn Griffiths Athletic Union President, Cardiff University Students' Union said: "Varsity 2015 will undoubtedly be the climax of the year for Team Cardiff and we're proud to show our commitment in challenging homophobia, biphobia and transphobia, showing it's OK to be 'Out In Sport'. We are working with Swansea University and Stonewall Cymru to help break down some of the barriers that make LGBT students feel excluded or uncomfortable participating in sport."

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