"I endorse the idea of catering for as many people as possible. Obviously we would encourage outstanding talent if it's there, but we're very much into fitness and health for everyone.
Any student coming here can at least get a taste of something athletic: the best thing is to inculcate the habit of maintaining an active healthy lifestyle. We're not one of the better-off universities in terms of facilities, but we do have a swimming pool, a fitness centre with 3,000 members, as well as a couple of gyms that can accommodate aerobics, dance and table tennis. But the basketball club, for instance, has to hire outside halls. There is always the danger in BUSA competitions that if we come up against one of the stronger universities we might get whitewashed. But it's nice to be able to offer the opportunity to those who want to take part in competitive sport. We do have a British karate champion and an international cyclist among our students, but it's very much the odd person who's pursuing the elite route here."
Bernie Ryder, head of recreation and sports studies, University of East London
Interviews by John Davies.