BUCS Nationals returns to Sheffield again this weekend, for the 11th consecutive year. Eight different sports will be showcased across the 3 day event (14 – 16 February) with around 150 students pulling on the red, gold and blue of UoB. There are numerous medal hopes from Athletics, Badminton, Judo, Karate, Long-Course Swimming, Fencing and Climbing, so be sure to be across all of the UoB Sport & Fitness’s social media accounts to remain notified when the medals, hopefully, come flooding in.
There are so many different athletes that could end up on the podium, but here’s a brief list of the ones that might shine in Sheffield…
The blue ribbon event of BUCS Nationals will be held at the world class English Institute of Sport. The incredible indoor venue should help our athletes thrive, as Birmingham have multiple medal hopefuls who have represented their country. Reigning 3000m champion James Gormley will defend his title again this year, as he hopes to add to the silver medal he won in the team XC event at the start of the month. He’ll be pushed in that event by club scholar, Michael Ward, but hopefully they should be able to get the best out of each other. First year Tom Keen is also looking to medal in the middle distance events as he goes in the 1500m. We then drop down to the 800m, where scholar and also reigning champion Issy Boffey will be looking to add another gold to an already fairly full medal cabinet. She has been recovering from an injury which hopefully won’t impact her chances, but she will also face stiff competition from Francesca Brint, who is doubling up and going in the 800m and 1500m. Hannah Kelly and Jake Porter will be hoping to start the weekend off well as they go in the 60m and 60m Hurdles respectively on the Friday. There are also high hopes in the field, as Laura Zialor goes in the High Jump. Arguably most importantly however, is the eagerly anticipated Mascot race, where Rory will be competing against all the other university mascots in the battle to see who is the quickest supporter!
Sticking at the Institute of Sport, Badminton will also be held there. The three day competition is a straight forward knock out event, meaning there is always the chance of an upset or two. Scholar and club captain, Samodani Wijetunge will be hoping to lead from the front and maybe even improve on the bronze that she picked up in 2018. Club scholars, Tamara Prostinakova and Evelyn Yu will also be hoping to progress far into the competition, but with such a strong squad making the trip to Sheffield, many different athletes could come home with a medal.
Judo is the first time we switch venue as this is held at the brilliantly named iceSheffield. The event is split into Kyu and Dan grade, with the individual competition on the Saturday and the team event on the Sunday. Junior GB representative Yasmin Javadian, will be hoping to medal in the -52kg individual. Although it is her first BUCS competition, her experience on the international stage should leave her in good stead.
Karate is also being held over at iceSheffield. The event features Individual, Men’s Team, Women’s Team and Kata Team events. From University of Birmingham, scholar and Ireland representative Mairi Kerin will be returning in seek of another medal following her bronze last year in the -55kg Kumite.
Next we pop over to the Ponds Forge International Sports Centre where the swimming will take place. UoB already picked up four medals at the same venue earlier this season in the BUCS short-course championship, so swimming will be hoping for similar success in the long-course version. Club Captain will look to improve on last year’s performance where she picked up a bronze medal, when she goes in the 50m, 100m and 200m backstroke. Scholar Issy Griffiths will also be hoping to better last year’s bronze when she goes in the longer distance freestyle events; 200m, 400m and 800m. Ffion Butler will also look to add to the three medals she won in November when she goes in the para 50m Freestyle and the para 100m Backstroke. Having had such a successful season so far and with such a strong team being sent to Sheffield it wouldn’t be surprising if other athletes also made the podium and the team saw many PBs and club record’s smashed.
There are 3 different disciplines in fencing over the weekend; Foil, Epee and Sabre. The whole event will also be held at Ponds Forge. Last year, scholar Ben Bates won a bronze in an individual foil, the GB representative will be hoping to go even better in that event and maybe even medal again in one of the other two disciplines.
Climbing is one of the only events at BUCS Nationals that takes place over just one day. On the Saturday, climbers will get three windows to score as highly as possible over three different sections of the wall. The top 4 men and top 4 women across the day then compete in the evening for a medal. UoB are sending a large, 12 member team, which consists of; Alex Slaughter, Chris Kent, George Butler, Hugo Williams, Jacob McCowen-Smith, John Robinson-Wall, Matt Moore, Tom Lightning, Ella Gilbert, Lily Porat, Robyn Hartwell and Sabina Giorgi. After a successful season across the London University Bouldering Championship events, hopefully the team can also achieve at in Sheffield!