Sport online editor, Nicola Kenton, looks back at some of the major sporting achievements from University of Birmingham students over the past year
Throughout the year, the sports teams of the University of Birmingham have been competing in BUCS Leagues and Competitions across the country. As with any year, there have been highs and lows but we’re here to bring you the best of the results from the 2016-17 season. Currently, UoB sit 7th in the BUCS League table with a total of 3121.33 BUCS points, of which 1773 have come BUCS leagues, 571 have come from BUCS cups and UoB have earned 777.33 points from Individual competitions.
Current student, Lily Owsley was part of the Great Britain women’s hockey team which won a Gold medal at Rio 2016. The final took place on 19th August and was shown on BBC One with 9 million people tuning in to watch a rematch of last year’s European Championships final between Great Britain and the Netherlands. Owsley scored the first goal in the final, where she was helped by Birmingham alumna Sophie Bray’s set-up shot, before the second-year student fired in the rebound. At full-time, the match was drawn at 3-3 and penalty kicks decided the event. After missing the first penalty kick, Helen Richardson-Walsh stepped up to score a penalty stroke and Holly Webb secured the gold medal for Great Britain. Owsley returned to Birmingham as an Olympic gold medalist with the aim of winning BUCS gold over the next year.
The University of Birmingham has become renowned for producing international hockey players and this year was no exception with many current students being selected for international duty at varying levels.
Eddie Way and Jack Clee were selected to represent England U21s at the Junior Hockey World Cup in India. While nine of the female hockey scholars were also selected to represent England U21s at the Junior World Cup in Chile – this meant that over 50% of the international team are made of Birmingham students!
At the senior level, three of the current female hockey scholars have been named as part of the Great Britain squad alongside gold medallist Lily Owsley and they are: Economics student Olivia Page, Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation student Erica Sanders and Sport, Physical Education and Coaching Science student Amy Costello. Another seven Birmingham Alumni were named in the 33-woman squad meaning that one-third of the players have trained or represented UoB.
Sports Awards Winners 2016-17
Volunteer Coach: Tania Griffin and Alex Darby
Coach Award: Andy Root
Victoria Wesley Award: Kingstun Nelson (Basketball Activator)
Sportsperson of the Year: Lily Owsley (Hockey)
Team of the Year: Hockey Women's 1s
Performance Club of the Year: Archery
Development Club of the Year: UoB Sailing
The Impact Award: BUAC Cool Runnings (Great Local Run)
It has been a good year for the athletics students at the University of Birmingham, there has been a myriad of events in which current students have taken part both internationally and domestically.
At the European Cross-Country Championships which were held in Chia, UoB had four representatives who were Jonny Davies, Pippa Woolven, Mari Smith and Victoria Weir. Davies finished 5th in the men’s U23 category, while Woolven finished 17th in the senior category, Smith finished 25th in the U23 category and Weir finished 10th in the U20 category. Each of our students picked up a medal through the team classification. Victoria Weir was then selected for the World Cross-Country Championships in Ghana where she was the first Brit across the line in the U20 category.
At the British Indoor Championships, UoB had a stellar meet and ended up with a podium of athletes. Sarah McDonald won gold in the 1500m, Andrew Heyes won silver in the 3000m and Jake Porter won bronze in the 60m Hurdles. Following this they all competed at the Birmingham Grand Prix. McDonald’s performance meant that she was selected for the European Indoor Championships where she finished 6th in the final.
BUCS Nationals saw athletes from Birmingham go in search of glory in eight different sports on the weekend of February 17th-19th. As thousands of competitors descended on Sheffield to go toe-to-toe and head-to-head in the pool, on the track and on the court. UoB scooped medals in five sports, with the most success coming in athletics and swimming. With one of the biggest teams at Nationals, it is fair to say that Birmingham’s presence was felt in Sheffield not least because Rory the Lion was there to egg all the athletes on.
In the long-course pool, scholar Abby Smith set a two second personal best of 4.18.52 in the 400m Freestyle and won a bronze medal. While, Ffion Butler won a bronze medal in the 50m Freestyle, silver in the 100m Freestyle and gold in the 100m Backstroke. At the short-course championships in December, Ffion won a silver medal in the 100m Backstroke. Butler said after BUCS Nationals, “It’s been very good, I didn’t expect to come in and win a gold, everyone has swum really well. This was the main event of the season for the team and I’ve improved since short course because I’ve tried to be stronger.”
The standout performance on the track from the first day however was undoubtedly Jake Porter’s 60m Hurdles run. Having strolled through his heat in a time of 8.11, Jake went on to cruise to victory and a gold medal with a winning time of 7.96, despite having to compete in the Birmingham Grand Prix the next day. A true show of commitment to UoB from a very talented runner. On the Sunday, Ian Crowe-Wright returned to the track for his 1500m final after a dominant previous day’s racing. It was a gruelling final and Ian clinched brilliant bronze with a great run. In the women’s 1500m, Naomi Collier went one better and bagged a silver medal with another brilliant performance. The biggest success of the weekend however came in the men’s triple jump. Lawrence Davis, coming back from an injury-filled year, registered a monster lifetime best jump of 16.01m. This jump smashed his previous PB, set a University club record, put him 3rd in the UK, but also, and most importantly for the adoring fans, brought home the gold medal for UoB.
The final medal of the weekend was won in the Judo where Agata Swiatkiewicz collected a bronze medal in the high grades women’s u63kg category.
There have been other notable achievements throughout this year from the University of Birmingham scholars.
Hannah Payton became the National Cyclo-Cross Trophy Series Champion and a British silver medallist, she also finished 27th at the World Cyclo-Cross Championships. Scholar Molly Patch has had a very successful year with gold in the BUCS 10km time trial, gold in the 25km time trial and silver in the BUCS Road Race.
On the water, Peter Purcell-Gilpin and William White became the first duo from the University ever to win a BUCS medal, winning a silver at the BUCS Regatta and they have also been selected to represent at the European University Championships in July.
Aoife Mannion was part of the Birmingham City Ladies team to make it to the FA Cup final, where they unfortunately lost to Man City Women and alumna Izzy Christiansen. Mannion has also been selected in the England U23s squad for the Nordic Tournament.
Special Recognition: Archery
The University of Birmingham’s Archery Club has been consistently brilliant throughout this academic year. They’ve won the BUTTS League and Indoor Championships titles going unbeaten through the season and at BUCS Nationals (Indoors) they picked up Team Gold for both senior teams; Francis Berti also won an individual gold medal at BUCS Nationals.
Captains Chris Avins and India Wilson said, “ We’ve worked so hard as a team this year, it’s a great environment to train in where every member is striving to be the best they can be, as well as go out of their way to help each other improve. There have been outstanding performances from scholars Ashe Morgan, Rebekah Tipping and home-grown archer Francis Berti.We’re so proud to have been top of the table in every national university competition this year!”
Championship Winning Teams
- Senior Team: BUTTS League Champions, BUTTS Indoor Champions,
- Men’s Team & Women’s Team: BUCS Indoor Gold
- Women’s 1s: BUCS Midlands Conference Cup Champions, BUCS Midlands 2A Champions (Promoted)
- Women’s 2s: BUCS Midlands 3A Champions (Promoted)
- Women’s 5s: BUCS Midlands Conference Cup Champions
- Futsal Women’s 1s: BUCS Midlands 1B Champions (Promoted);
- Futsal Men’s 1s: BUCS Midlands 3A Champions (Promoted)
- Women’s 1s: BUCS North A League Champions, BUCS Hockey Championship Winners;
- Women’s 2s: BUCS North B League Champions;
- Women’s 5s: BUCS Midlands Conference Plate Winners
- Men’s 1s: BUCS Midlands 1A Champions
- Women’s 2s: BUCS Midlands 1A Champions
- Women’s 4s: BUCS Midlands 3A Champions
- Women’s 1s: BUCS Midlands 1A Champions (Promoted via play-offs), BUCS Trophy Champions
- Men’s 2s: BUCS Midlands 2B Champions (Promoted)
- Men’s 2s: BUCS Midlands 2B Champions
BUCS Awards Nominations 2017
The 2017 BUCS Awards Dinner will take place at the University of Hertfordshire on the 13th July. There were a record 246 nominations across nine categories and the University of Birmingham has been shortlisted in three different categories.
Sportswoman of the Year: Lily Owsley
BUCS Team of the Year: University of Birmingham Women’s Hockey 1s
BUCS Unsung Hero: Gemma Davies (Women’s Football)