University Students Triumph At BUCS Championships

University students triumph at BUCS Championships

Loughborough athletes dominate the university outdoor championships with amazing three days of action in Manchester

By Kitty Shepherd-Cross 

University Students

The greatly anticipated BUCS Outdoor Athletics Championships took place over the past bank holiday weekend (May 4-6) in Manchester’s Regional Arena. The three days of action showcased stellar talent and did everything to test the stereotype of ‘university chillers.’

UNIVERSITY STUDENTS TRIUMPH AT BUCS CHAMPIONSHIPS

There was a strong theme this weekend, as dissertation deadlines and exam season loomed, laptops were out in the stands, headphones were on and Turnitin accounts were loading.

Producing an impressive list of personal bests so early in the season, athletes performed their big juggling act – combining higher education demands with rigorous athletic training. The results? Well, they suggest this provides the perfect harmony for success.

The weekend kicked off on Saturday (May 4), with a full day of heats before the glory days commenced.

Sunday saw the first medallists crowned, as Stephen Baffour from De Montfort University won gold in the men’s 100m with a sensational time of 10.44.

Baffour says that his win was only the start of his season’s goals, as he now sets his sights on qualifying for the Paris Olympics.

Stephen Baffour (Paul Bannister)

Names predicted destiny in the women’s 100m final, as former GB teammates and best friends, Joy Eze (Newcastle University) and Success Eduan (Salford University) took gold and silver in 11.49 and 11.52.

‘Joy and Success’ epitomised the pairs celebrations and achievements as they embraced on the line to celebrate their BUCS medal haul.

Joy Eze and Success Eduan (Phil Bannister)

Shortly after former para-swimmer and triathlete Adam Donnachie, from Stirling University, proved his impressive transition to para-throwing, as he won gold in the seated shot put, reaching a championships record of 8.91m.

Donnachie says his background in swimming developed essential shoulder strength which he’s translated to a successful throwing career.

Adam Donnachie (Phil Bannister)

Monday kicked off with the highly contested men’s 5000m race.

Training partners Will Barnicoat and Tomer Tarrigo, both studying at the University of Birmingham, replicated their BUCS cross country success as they once again came away with gold and silver.

This time however Tarragona did not let Barnicoat out of his sight, producing a mighty kick, with Barnicoat just taking the win in 14:17.29 ahead of Tarragona in 14:17.63.

The pair enter their final year at Birmingham in September, making way for big anticipations for BUCS 2025.

The 5000m women’s race saw an early breakaway from Tia Wilson (Loughborough) and Niamh Bridson-Hubbard (Cambridge University). Bridson-Hubbard came away with gold in 16:01.31 ahead of Wilson, who claimed silver in 16:03.72.

Bridson-Hubbard was particularly happy to take the win as it was her final BUCS championships. She will finish her PHD in sociology in 2025.

Birmingham sport scholar Kimani Jack added to his indoor gold, winning the men’s high jump in 2.09m.

Jack says he owes his significant improvements to taking the pressure off and trying to focus on enjoying the competition.

Kimani Jack (Phil Bannister)

Jake Minshull, also a Birmingham sports scholar, took gold in the 400m hurdles in 51.22.

This comes off the back of a training camp in Magaluf. Despite the town’s reputation, Minshull says it was an exceptional training base and remained unphased by the town’s temptations.

The 400m finals saw Loughborough dominate, as Poppy Malik and Alex Cooper both claimed their respective titles.

It was a special victory for the pair, as they grew up training at Harrow AC together, before moving onto Loughborough University.

Poppy Malik (Phil Bannister)

Success for the university team continued as teammates Emily Parker and Amelia Wills took gold and silver in the women’s 2000m steeplechase, both finishing with impressive personal bests of 6:35.65 and 6:40.85.

Loughborough’s middle distance dominance also translated to the 1500m, with Jessica Spilsbury and Tyler Bilyard both taking gold, in 4:20.67 and 3.42.45 respectively.

Then came the greatly anticipated 800m finals. The 800m prodigy, Abigail Ives won gold in the women’s race, seemingly with ease as she clapped her hands in celebration across the line in 2:08.31.

A stacked field battled for silver and bronze, with the next four athletes all finishing within 2.09; Ty Brockely- Langford (2:09.14), Charlotte Buckley (2:09.21), Ella Colbourn (2:09.28) and Leah Keisler (2:09.34).

Women’s 800m (Paul Bannister)

The men’s 800m saw Henry Walter Jonas claim gold in 1:49.61. He took the title from rising star, and recent BUCS indoor champion, Jacob Smith who followed closely in 1:50.05.

Finals day culminated with the relays, with Birmingham and Loughborough engulfing the trackside.

At first, Loughborough’s roars dominated, as they came away victorious in the men’s and women’s 4x400m.

The day was however closed with an underdog university stealing the show as Brunel won gold in the men’s 4x100m in a championships record of 40.13.

BUCS 4X100 2024 podium - Brunel Gold, Loughborough Silver, Cardiff Met Bronze

Relay podiums (Phil Bannister)

Soon after, athletes packed onto their buses and dispersed back to their university towns. Whether pulled into deep slumbers or starting celebrations, it was hard not to leave completely inspired – to continue their hard graft of the athlete-student juggling act.

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