Kent Stars: Kudos for Korfball

Students playing Korfball

This month’s Kent Stars are the Korfball Society. They went from having very few players during the pandemic, to coming second in the national BUCS competition! A fantastic achievement. Hear from team members Gemma and Josh:

Josh – Hi, my name is Josh Jardine and I’m currently doing a master’s by research in Sport and Exercise Science. My main interests are mostly anything sport related, I’m a big QPR supporter and enjoy going out with friends and family.

Gemma – I’m Gemma Bealey and a Law and Politics LLB Student. Among other interests I am a very keen korfball player. I started playing korfball at age 7 after I was introduced to it at primary school and have played ever since. This has included playing for Kent Junior age groups and now playing in the National Korfball League. I’m also a qualified coach and have been able to coach in my old club for many years as well as coaching one of the Kent Youth Teams.

Tell us about Korfball and Kent’s national success. 

Gemma – Korfball is a mixed-sex game which originated in the Netherlands and has similarities to both netball and basketball. It is very fast paced and relies on a diverse team where all players can attack and defend. I joined UKC Korfball last year and was grateful to be able to join such a welcoming and social club. Due to not running for a year as a result of the pandemic, the club was much smaller than it is now, and nearly every member was new to Korfball.

Josh – Last year we competed in three tournaments: prelims, regionals, and nationals against other universities all over the country. After winning regionals we qualified for the national championships. At the nationals we managed to reach the final but unfortunately lost by two goals against UEA but being second in the country is nothing to be ashamed of!

Korfball Team smiling

What advice would you give to other students? 

Josh – Advice would I give to other students would be to join a society. Societies provide a great way to meet like-minded people or people with the same interests and hobbies as you.

Gemma – I would advise any students to just get stuck into university as much as they can through joining societies. This gives a student an instant social circle and an easy opportunity to make more friends. It also offers students with a better work/life balance to take the pressure off their studies. Korfball is a very welcoming and inclusive game with players of all abilities and level of experience. As not many players have played before we offer the opportunity learn a new sport together as a team which isn’t always possible in other games. Being mixed also gives the game a rare dynamic which is very refreshing.

What are your plans for the next year?

Gemma – I will graduate from Kent this year and know that I will continue to play korfball following this. I have continued to play with clubs outside university while I have also been representing the University at BUCS tournaments and while I will miss being able to play BUCS, I’m glad I will still be able to play the game at a competitive level. I also hope to be able to continue my coaching once I have left university and I have always enjoyed this.

Josh – While completing this master’s degree, I have been lucky enough to have the opportunity to work for Gillingham Football Club while collecting data. So, my aim after this year is to hopefully get a job in a Sport Science department at a professional football club.

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