February 15, 2019, by brzmjb1
BUCS Nationals 2019 | Friday Roundup | Golden start for the University of Nottingham
The first day of competition in the hotly anticipated 2019 BUCS National Championships did not disappoint.
Following a short trip up the motorway from Nottingham, it was down to business for some of the 148 athletes who will compete at the Championships for the University of Nottingham over the next few days.
Over the course of the weekend, medals are up for grabs in Athletics, Badminton, Fencing, Judo, Karate, Swimming and whilst the team knew they would have their work cut out to match the successes of 2018, winning gold on the first day came as a shock to some, but not a surprise.
Hayley Mills, the poster girl of the games, put together a string of blistering heats and qualifiers in the 60m track to eventually secure BUCS Gold in final – missing out of a Championship record and PB by only 0.01.
It was a memorable day also for scores of students for whom this competition marked their first chance to represent the #GreenandGold and in doing so making themselves, their friends and family extremely proud.
The story of BUCS Nationals 2019 Friday began at the Graves Tennis Centre, a short drive out of Sheffield City centre for the beginning of the Men’s and Women’s Fencing competition.
An extremely large field of 151 athletes registered for the Men’s Epee, a weapon and discipline that has grown in its popularity in recent years which only added to the competition.
It was a superb start for Finlay Anthony who at 4-4 in his poule match with just 7 seconds on the clock manged to secure a victory which landed him a strong seeding for the knockout stages, eventually progressing to the L64.
Second year UoN Sport scholar, Henri Kopra, returned to BUCS Nationals in a strong poule and but ranked highly in the knockout stages after a successful morning of qualifiers. The Estonian international fencer pulled out the shock result of the day to beat #2 seed, Xavier Pellet (University of Bath) 15:7 to advance to the last 16. Victory against Zeeshan Iqbal sent Henri through to the Quarter final a repeat of his progress last year. However, it was here that he met the eventual winner Li Ching Ho losing narrowly 14:13 – a valiant effort and a brilliant run in the competition.
There was action in the Women’s sabre as first year student Charmmie Chun Ue Hui competed in her first BUCS Championship and qualified for the knockout stages at the first time of asking.
Wing Kwan Yeun managed to reach the last 64 and Chloe Panke went one better in making it through to the last 32 where she met the competition’s eventual runner up , Chloe Dickson from UoE.
Friday is qualification day for the Badminton knockout stages with those athletes who are yet to be seeded fighting for their spot in Saturdays competition.
Hilda Ho overcame Teresa Chung (21-5 21-8) and Steph Pipe (21-14 21-14) in straight sets to start her Women’s singles campaign.
James Salter also progressed, winning 3 straight matches to overcome Juli Zeqirir (21-2 21-1), Tech Onn Ding (20-22 21-13 21-15) and Jack Railton (21-10 21-9) to book his place in the weekends knockouts.
The swimming team got their Championship weekend off to a flying start by qualifying for the A Final of the 4x100m Mixed Medley Relay.
The team consisting of Cira Fletcher, Milly Scotchbrook, Aron Preece and Micheal Rees competed against a strong field in the evening session and recorded a 7th place finish with a time of 4:13:55. The event should prove to be the perfect warm-up for a busy schedule of swimming over the next few days.
UoN Sport Scholar and Para-athlete, Jo Strong kicked the athletics off at the English Institute of Sport. Strong recorded a brilliant time whilst running against a tough mixed para field and qualified for the final with a great race.
Michael Jones(M60m) and Rebecca Hall (W60m) both ran personal bests in their 60m sprint heats with Hall just missed out on qualifying for the semi-final. In the other Women’s 60m heat, Hayley Mills ran a flawless race to qualify fastest (7.38) cruising into the Final in the last race of the evening.
Fastest out the blocks and pulling away from the field towards the end, Hayley recorded a time of 7.32 a mere 0.01 away from a Championship record and PB. The final was watched by a number of University of Nottingham students and staff who provided a lot of noise and encouragement for the runner from start to finish.
Speaking after receiving her gold medal Hayley said,
“The University of Nottingham have invested in me financially and my friends emotionally and I knew it was my time to repay the favour. Had it not been for the rest of the team though I simply wouldn’t be here. They posted PB after PB and that really gave me the drive to be my best and push myself.”
“18 months ago, I never even considered being here as a British indoor champion or BUCS champion but here I am in the shape of my life and I feel so relaxed.”
“Previously, I would shuffle onto track and be nervous before big races and big heats but now I have much clearer focus and I have much better balance in my life, with my studies and my training.”
“I’ve got a rest day tomorrow but I’m going to be right here at the track supporting the rest of the team. The spirit at the moment is amazing and I’m proud to be a part of that family.”
“I’m really looking forward to the 200m and hopefully I can build on today’s success.”
Hayley will run in the 200m heats on Sunday looking to add to her medal tally.
You can check out the women’s 60m final replay below.
If Friday at BUCS Nationals has been anything to go by , then we’re in for a brilliant weekend of student sporting action.
You can follow the University of Nottingham’s progress in the BUCS Nationals on our Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and also here. There will also be regular updates on the BUCS official website and social media channels.
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