BUCS athletics: University of Sheffield almost loses bronze medal over claims Loughborough was unfairly disqualified 

Sheffield University’s athletics team were awarded a bronze medal in the British University Championships this weekend – only to be told that it could be taken away.

The side were taking part in the men’s relay at the BUCS 2023 indoor event at the English Institute of Sport in Attercliffe.

Loughborough University, who were originally disqualified – meaning Sheffield were given third place – appealed a ruling that they committed an obstruction against Sheffield Hallam during the race.

Laurence Manley, 19, an 800m runner from the University of Sheffield, said: “This is the big indoor competition, which we have trained hard for since September.”

He explained that Loughborough’s appeal was controversial because they only had one video angle where it looked like they didn’t obstruct.

He said: “In other video angles, you can quite clearly see that they did.

“This is massive because getting a BUCS medal is so important for an athletics team, and honestly just the University in general – even just for funding and stuff.”

Today, it was announced by the BUCS coordinators that their appeal was not upheld, because the UKA rules state that you cannot alter results after the awards ceremony has taken place.

Laurence said: “When we found out that Sheffield might lose their medals, everyone was really annoyed.

“It would’ve pushed Birmingham to second and also meant that Sheffield Hallam shouldn’t have been disqualified, because they were faster than Loughborough, but they were barged out the way.” 

The University of Sheffield had great success in the competition – with the girls finishing sixth and the boys 16th out of the 52 universities who competed.

University of Sheffield student Adelaide Omitowaju also won a silver medal in triple jump. 

Laurence said: “The atmosphere was buzzing. 

“We all felt a lot of pressure I think, I definitely felt lots of pressure from my coach. I also put a lot of pressure on myself.

“I wanted to do well for my first BUCS competition, I was shaking with nerves warming up and almost lost my balance at the start because my leg was shaking so badly.”

The University of Sheffield’s relay teams trained intensely for this competition, led by coach Martin Cook.

Laurence said: “This will only push us on further, and we have already started training to prepare for the BUCS outdoor athletics competition.”

This will take place at the Manchester Regional Arena from 29 April to 1 May.

Written by Marianne Hamilton

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