Quidditch- a sport in which you may associate mainly with Harry Potter. But it is a sport which is starting to take off in England with the British championships taking place recently with Bristol’s Tom Ower starring for Bristol University.
“I’ve already been to Barcelona and Gallipoli (Italy) but in 2 weeks time I’m heading to Brussels to play with Bristol in the European Quidditch Champions to go head to head with the best 32 teams in Europe.”Ower, 22, originally from Winnersh has been representing Bristol for three years and has travelled around Europe in his time representing the team.
Ower admits that he was “hooked” on the sport after seeing a YouTube video of real life quidditch in the USA.
“After watching the video I was hooked. I started researching if there were any actual teams in the UK. There were very few teams but I decided that during my second year that I’d like to try start up a quidditch team in Bristol and help the sport grow.”
The main rules of quidditch are to get the “quaffle” through one of three hoops at the end of the pitch. The team with the most points win the game, although if a team catches the “snitch” then they automatically earn 30 points and win the game. The best way to describe it is organised chaos!”
He also admits that quidditch is similar to a number of well recognised sports and is excited to see how the sport develops in the future.
“Quidditch is a mixture of rugby, dodgeball and handball. It is also a sport that is fully inclusive to all genders and has rules in place to protect that aspect. It’s being labelled as the fastest growing mix gendered + full contact sports in the world.”
The youngster is setting his aims for the future of quidditch very high and hopes to see the younger generation taking part in the sport.
“The journey we’ve been on just keeps on getting better and better. We’ve now proved we are a top team in the U.K., so here’s hoping we can take out A game to Europe and win medals there as well! I’d love to see the club grow more and more and start a Kidditch league in Bristol for kids quidditch.” He remains optimistic that the sport will continue to grow as coverage is improving at every tournament in the country.
Ower is keen to build on his own successes in the sport, despite having no knowledge at all on quidditch before he started playing.
“Before starting my club, I had never played before, and had no clue what I was doing when trying to coach other people how to play. Turned out well in the end though!”
And since Ower was introduced to the sport, he has expanded his knowledge so much that he now volunteers for Quidditch UK and was thrilled to see a large number of people attending the first session in Bristol for the team.
“I volunteer at Quidditch UK (the national governing body) as an expansion manager so I see a lot of new teams set up. In Bristol’s case, we had tonnes of people turn up to our taster sessions. Around about 80 people turned up to our first ever session (a lot more then I expected!) People with loads of different backgrounds and sporting experience and ability. Our club ethos of fun first helped us keep players and we’ve turned into the largest club in Europe because of keeping that ethos.”
Ower is hopeful that the sport will continue it’s rapid rise in participation and continue to grow as a sport.
“It’s grown every year since it came to the UK in 2011, and we seem to get more and more coverage at every large tournament we go to. I’m pretty sure most people knows it exists now, so it’s now just about finding the right people to set up their own teams!”