Sheffield is gearing up to host the BUCS (British University College Sport) national championships for the 10th year running, when it takes place in the city this weekend.
The event is happening across a wide variety of venues from Friday the 15th through Sunday the 17th, and involves 6,000 students from across the nation competing to bring back a medal for their University.
Eight sports will be competed in, these including Indoor Athletics, Long Course Swimming, Fencing, Karate, Judo, Climbing, Rifle and Badminton.
The 10th anniversary of the nationals being held in Sheffield also coincides with the centenary year of BUCS’ foundation as a body. In line with this, winning athletes will receive special commemorative medals marking the 100th year of BUCS history.
There will also be a special celebratory dinner hosted by the University of Sheffield to honour the anniversary of its formation. Before it was formed 1919, Universities did not compete against each other in a sporting sphere, and it’s clear to see how effective it has been in creating Sporting excellence in the nation, and creating a vehicle for young people to excel in their Sport.
Harry Russell, an 800m runner who competed in the British Championships in Birmingham last week and will be competing again in BUCS this weekend agrees with the notion.
He said: “If it wasn’t for University Sport I never would’ve got to the level I’m at. It goes hand in hand with the Uni lifestyle, I’m very grateful for it.”
This is especially prevalent in the city, with Sheffield known for its large contribution to the nation’s Olympics success. Notably, Sheffield University alumni Jessica Ennis, famous for her Gold Medal in the Olympic Heptathlon in the London 2012 games, competed in the BUCS World University games back when she studied at the University in the mid 2000’s.
With BUCS hosting less of the mainstream sports and rather focusing on the more niche games, BUCS Events Manager Jo Smith thinks it is a perfect vehicle to promote lesser known sports on a larger, national scale.
She said: “It’s great for the sports that don’t get represented much in the mainstream, like Judo, Karate, Badminton, Fencing and things like that. I think if they were standalone, without this event, they might struggle a bit.
“It helps them a lot as they get people watching which perhaps might not usually watch, and lets the athletes feel part of something bigger. Hopefully it inspires people who come along to try something a bit different.”
Smith was also keen to promote the welcoming and inclusive nature of the BUCS nationals. “The key thing we tell everyone is it’s open to all. We do a tonne of local sports so anyone interested should speak to their athletics union, come down to BUCS events and experience the atmosphere they bring for the people participating.”
She was quick to praise Sheffield as the perfect city to host the games.
She added: “The facilities are some of the best in the country, especially with the two Universities the city has. It’s also right in the middle of the country which makes it accessible for the maximum amount of people which helps to make it the best, and most representative event it could be. It’s been a great place to host it over the last ten years.”
The games are set to host a hefty crowd of spectators, with an estimated 1,000 people attending the Athletics event alone over the course of the weekend.
For a detailed look at the schedule, including times of events, venues, and ticket prices, visit the BUCS events schedule.