February 14, 2020, by brzmjb1
BUCS Nationals 2020 | Friday Round-up
The Friday of BUCS Nationals is a special day for many, the start of a new adventure. Each year the University of Nottingham takes over 100 student athletes to Sheffield for 3-days of top-class sport. The athletes compete across 4 venues: English Institute of Sport, Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, iceSheffield and the Works.
With its famous cutlery-making trade first mentioned in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Sheffield – aka the “Steel City” – was once the steel-making capital of the world and over the course of the next few days it is set to serve up a feast of student sport. This years Championships will see over 5,000 students converge on Sheffield for individual medals in 8 different sports: badminton, swimming, riffle, fencing, karate, judo, athletics, and climbing.
At first light, students crammed their PlayerLayer backpacks full the seams with running shoes, training kit, lucky socks and foam rollers before loading themselves onto a coach at the well-trodden steps beside Portland Hill.
The short meandering journey up to Sheffield was but a small distraction from the competition that lay ahead.
For many, the route to BUCS Nationals requires more than just carrying kit, but the also hopes, ambitions and aspirations of competing against the best student athletes in the country. What is unique perhaps is the perfect blend of student story and purpose.
For some students, this will be their final experience of this wonderful competition, a final opportunity to pull on the famous #GreenandGold. Yet for others, this is very much the start of the journey, a first taste of representing the University of Nottingham and creating a legacy for others to follow. What unites all of these personal stories and sporting journeys is a collective sense of pride in trying to the achieve the best they can be.
At this point in the week, everyone has a race to run, a fight to settle, a bout to win or a point to be scored and it was Fencing who had the honour of opening BUCS Nationals by beginning with the Men’s Foil and Women’s Epee.
The revised format has seen this event move from the Tennis Centre over to Ponds Forge International Sports Centre and the new venue certainly didn’t dampen the spirits.
Daniel Kiss sailed through the early stages unscathed. The Hungarian international impressed throughout the morning, making light work of his pool and progressing to the Tableau of 64, before finally meeting his match in the last 16.
Kiss, progressing further than last year was frustrated to have not gone deeper in the competition, but was utlimately pleased with his performance overall and attributed his success to his focus on one weapon.
“Last year I was riding two horses and fell between the middle, competing in the Sabre was an unfortunate error and an unnecessary distraction for me. My focus this week has been entirely on the Foil and in winning this event. I’m really happy with how I have fenced but frustrated not to have progressed further.”
Fellow UoN Sport scholar, Alexander Jones, also made the perfect start to his pool – going unbeaten in the early stages. His momentum grew as the tournament grew older which led to closely fought matchups in the tableau of 32 and 16. Jones fought valiantly through the field with style and class. However, it was his quarter-final where he would meet his match. After success in a difficult draw, Jones headed into his quarter final vs UCL’s Lee full of optimism and this wasn’t unfounded as period 2 closed at a draw 13-13. #GreenandGold supporters and staff surrounded the piste for a tense conclusion. Remarkably, his combatant Lee, was the recipient of a red card and gave away a point after he forced Alex into corps-à-corps to avoid being hit. At 14-14 there was only one point needed to secure a semi-final spot. Unfortunately, it was Lee that proved victorious in the vital moment, taking the win for UCL. Jones cut a frustrated figure at the conclusion but should rightly be proud of his achievements in this competition.
Final results – Men’s Foil
Alex Jones – last 8
Daniel Kiss – last 16
Canesh Karrunavannan – last 64
Davin Kwong – last 64
The women’s epee competition progressed at Ponds Forge where Nottingham had four ladies competing including Molly Symms and Emma Kirchner experiencing their first BUCS Nationals. They demonstrated professionalism and confidence which glowed in the early stages of the competition, but the experience of competitors meant their journeys were stopped in the last 32.
President of the Fencing Club, Serena Patel commenting on the women’s epee competition.
“We went into the competition with the correct mentality, something we had been working on in training and everyone individually fenced very well.”
Final results – Women’s Épée
Molly – last 64
Keziah – last 64
Serena – last 32
Emma – last 32
There was early success over at the English Institute of Sport in the 800m. Sam Edwards ran a blistering heat to secure a spot in tomorrow’s semi-final. Leading from the front throughout and recording a time of 1:55:53 , Edward ran 5 seconds quicker than any recorded time this season.
It was a considerable achievement for the Nottingham student and one which will set him up to develop even further as the season develops. Speaking after his race he said,
“I went out quite hard at the starting knowing I had stronger anaerobic capacity that the others. It was a risk and I really paid for it down the stretch but I took the race away from the others. To see my time was a surprise quite honestly, but I’m not complaining and I’m really happy. I want to be running sub 1:50:00 and this is a huge step towards that. I’m looking forward to tomorrow semi-final but it’s going be a tough ask.”
Things were hotting up on the track as Samantha Baker-Jones set a personal best in the 800m with a time of (2:00:22). Her 4th place finish enough to see her progress into tomorrow’s semi-final. Charlie Everest also recorded 4th place finish in the 800m (2:00:22).
Emilia Del Hoyo Perez, racing in her first BUCS Nationals event, was the fastest out of the blocks in the women’s 60m Hurdles heats. She raced away from the pack over the first 30m and never looked back. Her qualifying time, just shy of her indoor personal best (8.45i), landed her a spot in the evenings final.
In the final, and despite clipping the final hurdle to upset her rhythm, Emilia went on to record an 8.46 (100th of second off her personal best) in the final to record a 5th place finish, in a race which was won by the tightest of margins.
Over at Ponds Forge, during the evening session the long course swimming championships got underway with a strong representation of Nottingham students in the 4 x 100m Women’s, Men’s and Mixed medleys.
In the Mixed Open 400m Medley Team event , Michael Rees (backstroke), Cira Fletcher (breaststroke), Milly Scotchbrook (butterfly) and Henry Rennolls (freestyle) won their heat with a time of 4.07.90 and went on to qualify as 4th fastest. In the final, they met strong competition in the form of Loughborough, Bath and Sheffield Hallam. However, the team did themselves proud by finishing in 6th place overall, the highest they have finished in the pool as a team in recent memory.
The women’s open 400m Freestyle team, Alexandra Heard, Cira Fletcher, Milly Scotchbrook, Sofia Allen; swam 4.07.90 in their heat to qualify for Saturday’s final.
Returning from a long-term injury, Sofia Allen was in the pool for her first BUCS competition. The second-year language student swam the Women’s 1500m Freestyle, a straight final, in a time of 18.08 minutes.
After chasing a personal best since July 2019, she was delighted to take 10 seconds off her time. Sofia will race again this weekend in the 4x 100m freestyle final, 4x100m Medley, 200m backstroke, 400m freestyle.
Commenting on her individual first performance of BUCS Nationals, she said,
“It’s been a long journey to get back on top after the injury and a PB is a surprise this early in the season. It’s nice to see my hard work and perseverance starting to pay off.”
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.
Speaking ahead of the weekend head coach Martyn Lewis said, “ Im delighted that Khin [Gon Yi Lin] has qualified today. The whole team will be competing over the next two days and we have a lot to look forward to. The badminton team as a whole are entering this weekend full of confidence, particularly the Men’s team secured the BUCS Nationals league title last week. In the single, doubles and mixed doubles we have some excellent players and pairings and we really just can’t wait to get started.
Judo & Karate
In preparation for the weekend, both Judo and Karate teams arrived in Sheffield ahead of their competitive action tomorrow morning. Karate will kick-start the day with Dylan Traves (Men’s Senior Kata), Lauren Fretwell (Women’s Senior Kata) and the mixed team all looking to defend their Gold medals from 2019. We will bring you all the action from iceSheffield and from across all of the sports as we head into Super Saturday!
It has been a fitting opening day to the 2020 BUCS Nationals with fantastic performances from the entire team.
The stage is well and truly set for a tomorrow’s ‘Super Saturday’ of student sport in Sheffield.
You can follow the University of Nottingham’s progress in the BUCS Nationals on our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram feeds. There will also be regular updates on our BUCS Nationals website and social media channels.