Sporting Success: Part 1

The Tab meets UoB’s star teams and individuals, who have been scoring gold and bringing the silverware back to Brum this term.


Despite our appalling record when it comes to making promotional videos, UoB Sport has fronted up on the important stuff – winning trophies and BUCS points.

UoB looks set to maintain its top three status in BUCS this year, which it has maintained since 2009. With the league season drawing to a close, we spoke to the teams that have already tasted success this season.

Cross Country

The first squad on our list is Women’s Cross Country, who dominated the Midlands Championships on February 8th to win team gold.

Five of the Birmingham competitors finished in the top twenty overall, including Melissa Hawtin who topped the list with an impressive individual bronze in her final run-out for UoB.

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The team wrap up warm for their winners’ photo

She told The Tab: “we were very pleased to defend our team title and add it to our recent BUCS Cross Country victory.”

On a personal level she added:  “I was really pleased with my own performance and glad to end on a high in my last Cross Country race in a UoB Athletics and Cross Country vest!”

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Brum’s Cross Country winners embrace the cold

Club Captain Laura Riches, who finished second for Brum and eighth-place overall, praised the team spirit and strength in depth of her side.

Head Coach Mike Bull was also excited to see what else the club could achieve heading in to the outdoor track-and-field season.

In a parting statement, Melissa told The Tab about her love for training in the positive team atmosphere at UoB, praising the “great set up, great coaches and the large group of talented girls that I’m so lucky to train with.”

She added: “I’m gutted to be graduating this year, but excited to see the team develop and achieve even greater things in the future.”

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Melissa mucking in

Judo


Next up is women’s Judo, who secured their first ever BUCS gold at the Gatorade Nationals in Sheffield on February 23rd, beating Scottish outfits Glasgow and Strathclyde on the way.

The team added four silvers and a bronze to their medal haul in the individual competitions the day before, courtesy of Rebecca Telfer, Lucas Rowe, Gavin Thompson, Guy Walsh and Fia Barnes.

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The victorious team show off their silverware

We spoke to Judo vice-captain Emily Snell, who earned gold alongside Rebecca and Fia.

She told  us that the first gold in BUCS history meant “the world to the team.”

Emily also thanked the men’s team, who stayed an extra day to support their team-mates despite not having a squad entered for Sunday’s competition.

Coach Fitzroy Davies described the victory as “the icing on top of an excellent year!”

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To add to the level of Emily’s success, she told The Tab that the night before the final competitions, she wasn’t even planning on competing.

Emily told us that she had been out of action for three months following illness; only returning to the Judo mat so that she did not let her team mates down.

She certainly did not disappoint! Emily’s victory in the second fight of a three-stage final allowed her team-mate Telfer to deliver the decisive victory in the third and final fight- bringing back the gold for UoB.

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Emily with her adoring fans

Emily went on to win four of her five fights, marking an excellent come back after her frustrating absence through illness.

Despite this impressive record, Emily was still disappointed: “I feel I could have won all of them if I had been at full fitness.”

Perhaps she can prove herself in the next time round, when UoB Judo will defend their title at the annual University of Sheffield International Student Teams tournament on the 15th of March.

Frisbee

As far as The Tab is concerned, UoB Mixed Indoor Frisbee is the most hipster team to bring back the silverware so far this season, after winning the National Championships on the 8th and 9th of February.

The victory at the Nationals in Coventry is the first for UoB Frisbee in its  twelve year history.

After thrashing Sheffield, Surrey and Glasgow by a combined thirty points to four in the group stages, UoB romped to victory after defeating local rivals Warwick 8-4 in the final. 

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The team pose with their well-earned trophy

We spoke to Birmingham’s own U23 GB star Grace Owen, who was the voted Most Valued Player (MVP) in the final:

“it meant a lot for us to win mixed nationals – the guys had come third and the women second in their divisions, so we all really wanted to win.”

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How Frisbee players celebrate…

Flattered in being awarded MVP, Grace said: “it was really cool, I’ve never been MVP in a final before and I hadn’t even thought about it until they announced my name!”

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Grace in action for Team GB against Australia in Toronto

She also praised the great standard of training and commitment produced by her team-mates, as well as the importance of the pre-tournament bonding sessions over a drink and a film.

In a touching final comment Grace stated that the best part of playing Frisbee at Birmingham was getting to play with her sister.

 

Stay tuned for more of The Tab’s Sporting Success, as the end of season is set to produce more great performances from UoB’s sporting stars.