BUCS Nationals 2022 returned to Sheffield this weekend. It was fantastic to have three days action-packed with sport return since covid had enforced break. As we moved into the ninth year of nationals it did not disappoint.
The event itself brings together 5 individual BUCS Championship events, Indoor Athletics, Swimming Long Course, Badminton, Climbing and Fencing, which take place at three different venues. Over 4000 students from universities across the UK took part in the event with 200 officials and volunteers making the sport happen on and off the field of play. NTU had astrong representation across all 5 events taking over 50 athletes representing the University who all had high hopes of turning their hard work in training into medals and personal bests.
The Indoor Athletics and Badminton competitions took place at the English Institute of Sport. The impressive venue was matched by our student athletes’ performance on the track and field area. On Friday, first up was 60m where sports scholar Richard Akinyebo made the BUCS 60m final and finished 5th in a very tight race, breaking his pb twice along the way. On Saturday Lionel Owona, made the high jump final and came 4th, very narrowly missing out on a medal on countback. There were also some excellent performances in Women’s Shot put and pole vault to note.
Our best performance was saved for Super Sunday at the athletics track where sport scholars Ellis Greatrex was competing in the 400m after returning from serious injury in the previous season and Sharhnee Skervin was going in the 200m. Both athletes impressed in their heats, and their semi-finals with Sharhnee achieving a PB in the process. The finals were back-to-back, so NTU hopes of glory were raised and all the attention was on a 20 minuites slot of athletics action. Ellis’s final was first and a talent stacked field made for an impressive final. Ellis was always a strong finisher and stayed with the leader throughout, however he was just beaten into top spot, finishing 2nd with a Silver medal. We spoke to Ellis about his race, ‘after not racing in 2021 due to various injuries, I didn’t have very high expectations going into BUCS nationals. I qualified for the semi-finals comfortably and then ran a seasons best in the semi-final to make the final. I was the slowest person to qualify from the semi-finals so knew I needed to pull something out of the bag to be in with a chance of a medal. The odds were against my favour, being in lane 2, but I managed to execute my best race for when it really mattered to claim silver. This performance has given me a well needed confidence boost ahead of the rest of the season.’ Congratulations Ellis, we can’t wait to see what is to come for you!
The next race it was Sharhnee in the womens 200m, she had qualified for the final as fastest in her heats, so confidence was high on the start line. A blistering start gave her the lead from the beginning and one she never relinquished, winning and becoming BUCS National Champion and receiving that shiny gold medal. We spoke to Sharhnee about her gold, ‘BUCS was a really enjoyable competition to take part in and I was really pleased to come away with PBs in the 60m and the 200m. On top of that to win the 200m was a really incredible feeling and the weekend as a whole was just an amazing experience!’. We can’t wait to see what Sharhnee has in store with this being her first year at NTU.
The badminton championships saw some fantastic performances by our athletes, with 2 pairs making the last 32 in Mixed doubles, and 1 pair making the last 16 of the Men’s doubles in what was a top class field competing with international athletes. Plenty of experience was gained by a young team, who are eager to learn and progress.
Over at Ponds Forge International Swimming Centre, the Swimming Long course and the Fencing national championships were taking place. NTU had one of our best short course championships ever in term 1 finishing 7th overall, so the club and scholars attending were bringing plenty of confidence into the meet. First to shine was Cira Fletcher in the Women’s 50m breaststroke, she qualified for the final in 5th place on the Friday ready to take it up a level on Saturday for the final. Cira did not disappoint and finished strong to take 2nd place and silver medal delivering a fantastic result. We spoke to Cira about her silver ‘the atmosphere at BUCS is always great and the weekend went better than I could have hoped for. Winning my first BUCS medal at my last BUCS nationals was really special.’
Para athlete Connor Stuart was competing in the 100m freestyle, in his first year as an NTU student. Connor put in a PB time and achieved 1st place becoming BUCS national Champion this now means he has completed the set of gold, silver and bronze BUCS medals in his first year at NTU. We spoke to Connor about his experience, ‘it was great to compete again especially with the very few opportunities to compete at the minute. I went to the competition with very little expectation having caught covid a few weeks prior. I was very happy with my results and to come home with a medal was something that I was not expecting. It gave me a great basis on how my training is going and where I’m at. Overall, the BUCS competition had a great atmosphere and I really enjoyed it.’ Congratulations to Connor on his victory.
In the fencing, and a very strong field across all weapons meant it was hard going for our NTU athletes, however sports scholar Sarah Spice beat higher seeds on her way to finishing a very credible 8th in the Women’s Epee competition while in the Men’s epee Giulio Stroppiana finished a strong 17th out of a field of 119.
The final event was climbing where the club took a team to the Climbing Works centre for some fast-paced action. The Men’s and Women’s teams placed well overall with Men’s top 20 and Women’s landing in the top 30.
All in all, BUCS Nationals delivered a fantastic weekend of sport and provided our students with the opportunity to grow and compete back again on the national stage, it was great to see. A special mention for our most successful swimming long course and indoor athletics meets ever, with all scholar athletes across both venues making finals and well done to the 4 athletes coming home with medals!
If you missed out this weekend you can catch all the updates on our instagram highlights.