Celebrating a year of sporting success at Cambridge

The Tab went along to the University’s Sports Awards, where the crème de la crème of university sport were recognised

For all Cambridge students, the end of the year means celebrating a year of hard academic work. For a good proportion of students, the end of the year also means celebrating a year of hard work on the pitch, court, field, track, and water.

The University celebrated the best of the best at the annual Cambridge University Sports Awards on Monday 19th June, and The Tab went along.

The University Sports Service put out a call for nominations for a range of award categories, including club of the year, team of the year, sportsperson of the year, unsung hero, sports club personality of the year, outstanding contribution, newcomer of the year, and sporting moment of the year.

The winners were then chosen by a panel of senior University staff, with the exception of the sporting moment of the year award, which was decided by a popular vote.

Taking out the team of the year award was the Cambridge University Hare & Hounds, the University’s mid- and long-distance running team. The team achieved an unprecedented 5-0 win against Oxford at this year’s varsity match, as well as four BUCS cross country medals, three individual BUCS medals, and club members representing Great Britain internationally.

Milly Dickinson (back row, third from left) and members representing CUHH (Image credits: Dik Ng @dikng99)

Hare & Hounds Club Captain Milly Dickinson gave credit to coach Phil O’Dell for the team’s success, telling The Tab he “pours so much time and effort into every runner.” Dickinson went on to say that “competing and succeeding at the highest level against universities heavily funded for running is not an easy task, and would not be possible without the dedication and hard work of every runner in the club.”

The University Triathlon Club won club of the year for 2023, and were recognised for increasing their membership by more than 50% in the last academic year. On top of increasing participation, the club had an incredibly successful year with both men’s and women’s teams winning varsity for the first time since 2010. In their own words, crucial to the success of the club’s success has been the formation of the 12-strong female competitive team.

In his acceptance speech, President Edward Cator noted the immense transformation the club had gone through since he matriculated at Cambridge in 2019. He went on to joke that the real reason members have joined CUTRIC is because none of them are good enough to compete solely in one of the three triathlon disciplines.

Representatives of the Triathlon Club (Image credits: Dik Ng @dikng99)

Sportsperson of the year went to student olympian Imogen Grant from Trinity College for her performances with the University Boat Club and Cycling Club. In seven years, Grant went from learning to row in Cambridge to representing Great Britain at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. The award recognises her six BUCS rowing medals, back-to-back European Rowing Championships gold medals, and BUCS cycling gold medal this year.

She emphasised to the crowd the value sports brings to her university life, and to the lives of many other Cambridge students. This value, she argues, means the odd rescheduled supervision or lecture is more than worth it.

Also from the Boat Club, Matthew Griffiths was awarded the unsung hero award for his unwavering commitment to the club and its domination of the Thames in this year’s Boat Race. In his acceptance speech, Griffiths thanked all the unsung heroes he has benefitted from during his time in Cambridge, noting he was just one of many.

CUBC winners: Matthew Griffiths (Unsung Hero) and Imogen Grant (Sportsperson of the year) (Image credits: Dik Ng @dikng99)

The sporting moment of the year, as voted for by Cambridge students, was the Amateur Boxing Club varsity victory, with Chike Pilgrim from Darwin College securing the title for the team.

The audience were treated to a video of the varsity win, along with the other nominations, which included Jasper Parish steering CUBC’s men’s blue boat to victory on the Thames.

The newcomer of the year award was so tight the selection committee couldn’t decide on one winner, so the award went to two Cambridge students. Congratulations to both Charlotte Bardsley from the University Table Tennis Club, and Jordan Mubako, impressively from the Basketball Club, Rugby Union Club, and Athletic Club.

Bardsley came to Cambridge after competing at the Commonwealth Games. A heavyweight newcomer, it’s safe to say. Since arriving in Cambridge, she has achieved a BUCS silver medal, and is set to become the club’s Vice-President in Michaelmas 2023.

Mubako very admirably thanked all three clubs for letting him be a “visitor” during his short time at Cambridge, as he has just completed a one-year MPhil programme. I think his teammates would agree he was far more than just a visitor, but rather an inspirational and influential player, and a name to listen for in the future.

Newcomers of the year in Cambridge sport (Image credits: Dik Ng @dikng99)

Tom Wade, from the cycling and badminton club, was awarded sports club personality of the year. This award goes to someone who contributes immensely to a positive culture at their respective club(s) and Wade was noted as a kind and caring member of the cycling club, always trying to improve overall club culture.

Last but not most certainly not least, a number of sportspeople were recognised for their outstanding contribution to their respective clubs. A huge congratulations to Alex Telford, Ellie O’Keeffe, Joa Hoshizaki, Matt Neville, Priyanka Patel, and Sofie Pultz, for being recognised for their contributions.

In a statement to The Tab, Director of Sport at the University, Nick Brooking, said that the event presented “a great opportunity for all involved to celebrate the hard work, commitment and success of student sport at Cambridge. It is an excellent showcase for the quality, importance, breadth and depth of sporting participation with a range of categories enabling individuals, teams, clubs, administrators and coaches to be nominated.”

Brooking went on to say, “[w]ell done, not only to the winners, but to all who submitted nominations, were nominated and shortlisted and we look forward to the new season of University sport starting again after the summer.”

The press release from the University Sports Service can be found here.

Congratulations to all the winners!

Featured image credits: Dik Ng (@dikng99)