February 16, 2018, by brzmjb1

BUCS Nationals | Friday Review : Green and Gold secure two medals in opening day of the Championships

The University of Nottingham have made a fantastic start to the 2018 BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport) National Championships in Sheffield recording 2 medals on day one. Polly Holden (Medical Physiology & Theraputics) smashed her 800m freestyle personal best by 15 seconds to win BUCS Bronze in her maiden Championships and Hayley Mills (60m SprInt) picked up a bronze in a day which saw a number of athletes qualify in their respective heats with strong performances.

At 9am, the curtain raised on a weekend of sporting excellence as the first competitive events got underway at various locations across Sheffield’s city centre. With over 129 athletes taking part, UoN were backed by a strong contingent of supporters making the short trip north to cheer on the Green and Gold in the steel city.

A short drive out of the city, at Graves Sport Centre, both Men’s Epee and Women’s Sabre got BUCS Nationals underway. Estonian international and UoN scholar Henri Kopra (Architecture)  lead the way early on with an unbeaten route through to the last 8 in the afternoon competition. The quarter final went right down to the wire and despite a valiant effort from Kopra to level things up, he unfortunately missed out on the chance of a medal after being on the wrong end of a tight 15-13 match.

Henri Kopra narrowly misses out in the quarter finals

There was also a superb BUCS Nationals performances from Chloe Pahnke (Mathematical Sciences) and Beatrice Garbin (Cultures, Languages and Area Studies) who qualified for the last 32 of the Women’s Sabre in her first BUCS for University of Nottingham.

Over at the EIS, the Badminton action got underway in a tournament which will see over 705 athletes take part making in one of the largest badminton championships in the U.K. Dan Blair sailed through qualifying in the men’s badminton singles to make the main draw, whilst Hilda Ho followed suit and booked her place in Saturdays draw.

Also hosted at the indoor athletics arena at EIS, Hayley Mills (Phd Mathematics) won UoN Sport’s first medal of the games by winning bronze in the 60m sprint final. Mills powered through the early rounds finishing first in her heat and followed up with a memorable final run for a podium place. Mills said, “My target was to reach the final, I didn’t expect a medal but I just went for it. This is my first championship since my injury and I couldn’t believe it. I actually had to double check with the officials if it was me who came third. I’m absolutely delighted.”

Hayley Mills races to BUCS Bronze in the 60m Sprint

In Shotput, Taylor Smith-Grossett (Law) faces a tense wait to find out if she made the cut for Sunday’s Shotput final and will be hoping the draw is favourable over the weekend.

Unfortunately, there was disappointment in the 60m Hurdles for Darren Meaklin (Cultures, Languages and Area Studies) who took a serious fall after another athlete dislodged his hurdle forcing Meaklin to dive head first onto the track and effectively ending his chances of progressing. Whilst a scary conclusion to the race, Meaklin thankfully returned to his feet and dusted himself off much to the relief of the Sheffield crowd – and the drama didn’t end there!

Daren Meaklim dramatically falls at the final hurdle

Over at the Ponds Forge, Polly Holden brought the UoN Sport fans to their feet as she delivered a record personal best to win a BUCS Silver medal in her first BUCS Nationals in the women 800m freestyle. Holden lead early on in her heat but after slipping back midway through the race she dug deep and clung on to record a brilliant time of 8:46:14, 15 seconds better than her previous PB. After her race she said, “I can’t believe this is my first year at BUCS and I’ve won a silver medal. The support from UoN & Nova is really paying off, so thank you to them and I am sure this is just the start of great things to come.”

The sensational swim crowned a brilliant day for the Green and Gold and the Nova Centurion swimmer has the 200m freestyle and 400m freestyle to look forward to over the weekend.

Polly Holden leaps to BUCS Silver by smashing her personal best by 15 seconds

Tomorrow Schedule:
The action comes thick and fast tomorrow with Men’s Sabre and Women’s foil from the Graves Tennis Centre, the athletics gets into full swing with Sam Smith (Law) hoping to qualify for Sunday’s 3000m final. Ebonnie Bridges (Mathematics) will face off in the Women’s -63kg Judo having recently won Gold in her first senior competition and Greenaway Scholar Li Lian Yang (Mathematics & Economics) returns to EIS to start the defence of her Badminton BUCS Gold medal from 2017.

You can follow the University of Nottingham’s progress in the BUCS Nationals on our TwitterFacebook and also here. There will also be regular updates on the BUCS official website and social media channels.

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