BUCS (British Colleges and Universities Sports) is the national governing body for higher education sports in the UK. It has been at the forefront of university sport for over 100 years, providing world class sport and physical activity experiences to students.
BUCS Nationals is an annual sporting competition where over 5,000 students from institutions all over the UK compete in one of eight sports: indoor athletics, judo, karate, fencing, badminton, climbing, short range rifle and swimming. The aim is to be crowned BUCS champion! Each medal win gains the university “BUCS points” and offers great exposure to students looking to continue their sporting career beyond university.
This year, five elite sports scholar students competed in the Nationals, each one achieving personal bests!
Anja Sokk: Gold, Karate, under 61kg Kumite
Karate scholar and BSc Sports Rehabilitation student Anja Sokk dominated all her fights and systematically broke her opponents down, to take home the Gold Medal, automatically qualifying for the EUSA (European Universities Sports Association) Games in Belgrade this July. The EUSA Games are Europe’s largest University sport event, with over 5,500 participants from leading universities, competing in more than 20 sports.
Anja commented: “BUCS was a good competition, I was able to watch other sports, which was fascinating. I met many great Karate athletes.
I went to BUCS knowing I will get a new experience, as I have never participated in such events before. I wanted to show beautiful karate and skills. I had one tough match with a well-known fighter with outstanding achievements, including European champion and world bronze. My coach said that if I fight, as I really can, like a fighter, not like an athlete, I will win. And I did that ending the bout with 5:0 score. I was happy to bring a gold medal for LSBU and qualify for EUSA. I'm looking forward to competing there, as the level of competitors will be remarkably higher and I will meet many national team athletes.”
Beth O’Connor: 5th place, Judo 1st Dan under 57kg
Our dedicated BSc Sports Coaching and Analysis student and judo scholar, Beth O'Connor, claimed 5th place in the Judo Championships, against some tough competition from Team GB student athletes. Beth has already achieved great things this season, coming 7th in the British Nationals in December. This was following her bronze medal win at the Universities and Colleges Open in November! The Academy of Sport are so proud of Beth's commitment to her sport and studies - ranking 7th in Britain while completing your final year at university is no small feat.
Beth commented: “This year has been really great for me, changing affiliations and in less than six months qualifying and placing 7th in the British championships is massive, I am so pleased and I’m looking forward to improving off it going into next year.”
Gaspar Epro, Beth’s Personal Tutor, said: “Beth is a very goal-oriented and ambitious student which definitely has its roots in being a competitive judoka. In her studies she has always tried to link the gained knowledge with her chosen sport. It seems to work for her like symbiosis, one complements the other and vice versa. Beth is a perfect example of combining both, education and elite sports.”
Helen Parker, Manager for the Academy of Sport, said: “Beth sets an exemplary example of the student athlete – she is motivated and committed in achieving her academic goals while staying focussed on her sporting achievements. In fact, they both complement the other and have led to Beth’s inspirational ranking in judo! We are proud of what Beth has achieved and are honoured to have been able to support Beth in continuing both her commitments with outstanding results.”
Athletics scholars Turaya-Lanais Bryan, Keano-Elliott Paris-Samuel and Rhianna Buaku all achieved season personal bests in their performances in the BUCS Indoor Athletics Championships. They will be competing for LSBU again in the BUCS Outdoor Athletics Championships in May. The Academy of Sport will be there supporting them as they attempt to take crucial milliseconds off their times in the 100m, 200m and 400 m disciplines.
Phil Newman, Deputy Director of Student Services and Head of Sport, said: “BUCS Nationals presents an annual opportunity for our talented student athletes to demonstrate their hard work, discipline and skill in their respective sports. The Academy of Sport remains committed to their development and is proud to be able to support them through the Sports Scholarship Programme, enabling them to continue their sporting success and continue to compete at a high level during their studies at LSBU.”