Roses is our Olympics so where is the athletics?

York has the athletes and the facilities, so why do we not have a dedicated athletics event at Europe’s biggest varsity?

Image: York Sport Union

Which events do you stay up to watch at the Rio Olympics? I bet most people you ask that question to would reply that they stayed up to watch Mo Farah and Usain Bolt’s performances on the track. If you did not then you missed out on some of the most memorable events in athletics history. So why was such an entertaining sport not included at Roses 2017?

Although York’s athletics club were able to compete in Roses in their cross country event, it seemed like YUSU missed out on an opportunity to show off their new athletics facilities and the benefits that the University’s athletics team has witnessed from training at it. However YUSU choose to only use the track for some of the football events taking place on the Saturday.Of course when a facility such as an athletics track is shared with other sports teams, such as the local city of York athletics club, it can be difficult to book the facility out for long periods of time.

However, a Roses athletics match did not have to take place on the main Roses weekend. Other sports such as rowing and equestrian were allowed to change the days of their events to fit around other competitions and booking issues.York athletes were instead forced to choose between attend-ing the prestigious BUCS Athletics Championships or competing in the Roses cross country. By having a separate athletics event take place at a different date, more York athletes would have been able to com-pete and there would have been an opportunity for York athletes who compete in shorter events such as sprints or in field events to become involved in Roses.

If Roses is supposed to be York’s Olympics, and the largest varsity in Europe, why would it miss out on including so many Olympic events?

Track and field events would not necessarily have counted for points, but an evening of athletics would have attracted many spectators. Imagine a one-on-one Roses 100m: it would be adored by the crowd and could be a hilarious and thrilling event.

Furthermore, when Roses was first formed in 1965, one of the main attractions was a relay race. It is a shame that a similar event has not been able to continue into more re-cent editions of Roses.

With events such as Pokémon and University Challenge being provided with competitions, even if they did not impact the overall scoring of Roses, I do not understand how YUSU were able to reject the idea proposed to have track events on our new running track but rather book the facilities out immediately for the football when in reality both could have been used over the week-end. With cross country as athletics’ only representative at Roses 2017, having to walk past an empty track over the weekend was simply heart breaking.

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