Sports editor Oscar Frost reports on the second place finish of BUAC, Birmingham’s athletics team, at BUCS Indoors

Written by Oscar Frost
Hi! I'm Oscar, and I'm one of your deputy editors for the coming year. I was also a sports editor for two years, and a writer for a year before that.
Images by Twitter/@BUCSsport

The athletics club travelled up to Sheffield to compete at BUCS indoors, where there were 14 individual medals won by BUAC. The club ended up in second place overall, finishing just eight points behind Loughborough in the men’s category. 

A fantastic addition to the club was Didi Okoh, who is the first ambulant athlete to compete for the university. She also took home the most medals for the club, with golds in the long jump and 60m, as well as a silver in the shot put.  A fantastic weekend for Okoh, and a real boost to the Birmingham points tally. 

Also taking home a gold medal was Harry Fisher, who won the 800m with a 1:56.42 clocking in a very tactical race. Fisher was frustrated with his performance in the final of the British Championships earlier this year, but he bounced back in style with this BUCS win. Archie Parkinson finished soon after, making it a Birmingham 1-2 in the 800m. His middle distance teammate Tyler Bilyard also took home gold in the 1500m, which was very impressive given that he is coming off of a very successful cross-country season. He finished with a time of 3:55.64. In the women’s 800m, Emily Marmion-Williams ran a storming personal best of 2:08.72 in the semi-finals, before finishing in third position in the final. 

Elsa Palmer took home a 3000m gold medal, with Saskia Millard also taking home a bronze medal for the Birmingham team. Palmer clocked in at 9:24.23, with Millard coming in less than ten seconds later. Both were in action at BUCS cross-country, meaning that they should have more to give as they transition more into their season on the track. 

Josh Woods was able to retain his BUCS title in the triple jump, as he jumped a massive 14.93 metres in the qualifying rounds, before 14.87 metres in the final. Joshua Knox jumped a personal best of 14.31 metres, which was enough for fifth place in a tough field. Also in the jumps, Kimani Jack cleared 2.10 metres to tie his personal best and take home a silver medal in the high jump. He was just three centimetres behind the Loughborough winner, so will look to improve even further before the next Championships later in the Spring.

Previous track captain Cameron Bailey returned to BUCS indoors with a point to prove. Last year, he ran the 200m and failed to make the final after some unlucky lane draws. This year, however, he came back as a reinvented 400m runner. This change in events evidently paid off, as he ran an imperious 47.60 second personal best on the way to winning the gold medal. This was somewhat of a revenge arc for Bailey, as he looks to establish himself as one of the highest performing 400m athletes in the country.

This was somewhat of a revenge arc for Bailey, as he looks to establish himself as one of the highest performing 400m athletes in the country

The final individual medalist was international student Angel Diaz, who finished second in the 60m hurdles. His 7.89 second clocking was a personal best, and meant that he beat Tom Wilcock, the previous BUCS outdoor champion over 110 metre hurdles.

The final event of the weekend is always the relay, and this year there was drama to boot. The women’s squad of Diani Dacres-Walker, Maddy Whapples, Molly Swingler, Ella Jeffries, Orla Brennan, Zoe Austridge and Izzy Skelton crossed the line in first place. However, the joy quickly turned to anguish, as they were disqualified for exchanging positions before the takeover. This was a very tight call to make for the race officials, but ultimately it meant that the women were stripped of their gold medal. 

After the disqualification of the women, the men had a point to prove. The squad of Darian Moore, Jamie Worman, Fionn Leaney, Bailey and Diaz crossed the line in an agonising fourth place. However, their anguish in fact turned to joy as Sheffield were disqualified for a lane infringement, securing a bronze medal for the UoB contingent. Although it did not necessarily make up for the heartbreak in the women’s race, it was certainly a silver lining for the squad.

Overall, BUCS indoors were a roaring success, not least as Birmingham defended their title in the mascot race with Rory the Lion. Their second place finish in both the men’s and women’s categories made it the most successful indoor championships to date for the club, and they show no signs of slowing down before the outdoor championships later in the Spring.

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