Zuleikha Chikh has won the Chris Potter Sports Bursary for her dedication to empowering girls from all backgrounds to get involved in sport.

The Chris Potter Bursary is awarded to a student every year who makes a significant impact on student sport. This year’s winner is Zuleikha, a student at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

Zuleikha began her journey in university sport through an indoor football Kickstart session. It was here where she understood the power of sport and set herself a goal to get more females taking part. Now over three years later, she’s created her own community as the founder and Chair of Women’s Futsal Club at UCLan.

 Zuleikha passion for getting more girls active in sport is clear to see:

 'My aim is to bring more girls and women into sport and empower them in their self-belief that they too can do it.”

Since founding the women’s futsal club, Zuleikha has seen the number of team members grow to over 20, many who are also apart of UCLan’s Islamic Society.

She is also driven to help the wider community. On placement at Preston Muslim Girls High School, Zuleikha has been delivering football sessions in PE. This has seen some of the students go on to get involved in UCLan’s grassroots HUB club. The grassroots HUB club involves her coaching anywhere between four to fifty-year-olds including SSE Wildcats, refugees and asylum seekers and adults with disabilities.

When asked what winning the award means to her, Zuleikha said, “I’m so pleased to receive this award. It will go some way towards supporting sport development in the Preston area. It will also encourage more and more people to take up sport including underrepresented communities.”

Zuleikha’s won multiple awards for her dedication to sport, including, Centre for Volunteering and Community Leadership Awards: Vice Chancellors Award for Excellence – 500 hours volunteering, UCLan Sport Volunteer of the Year 2019 and Muslim Women in Sport Power List 2019. These awards were major contributors to Zuleikha winning the Bursary. Bob Potter, the father of Chris Potter and panellist, said ‘she has shown considerable initiative, staying power and drive, consistently achieving results which have won her a lengthy list of volunteering awards’.


And the runner up is...

Ryan Turner. A student at University of Exeter, Ryan’s contribution to the basketball programme has been astounding. Since joining the club, Ryan has brought in structural change, created greater commitment from the committee helping to result in the club being more financially sustainable. Through Ryan’s leadership, the club will continue to grow and succeed in the future.


About the Chris Potter Sports Bursary

The award has been running for over thirty years in memory of Chris Potter. Every year the bursary is awarded to a student that has made a significant contribution to student sport as a competitor, official, referee/umpire, coach or volunteer, with particular reference to the BUCS programme.

Chris was a student at University of Bristol and tragically drowned on an organised swimming party in Sierra Leone in 1990. Chris was an avid hockey player and was the Athletic Union President. He was Student Vice-Chair of the Universities Athletics Union (now known as BUCS), where he is remembered as a young man with firm ideas which he was not afraid to argue through.

In memory of Chris’ service to the UAU/BUCS, and in conjunction with his family, the Union established this bursary.

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