17 February 2020

The University of East London (UEL) solidified its position as a major BUCS (British  Universities and Colleges Sports) competitor at the weekend, with athletes bringing home 11 medals.

The team of over 20 student scholar athletes travelled to Sheffield to compete against other sporting universities in athletics, judo, karate and fencing, winning eight medals. Two more travelled to Durham to compete in the BUCS canoe and kayak championships to add a further three medals to the tally.

One of the highlights was 60m sprinter Cheyanne Evans-Gray. She took gold at her first BUCS appearance and also set East London’s first ever BUCS championship record of 7.28 seconds.

I'm just in awe, I can't believe I'm a gold medallist and a record holder. It's my first BUCS Championships. I've come here and experienced what it's like to compete at this level and I'm ready to go again at the British Champs next week,"

Cheyanne Evans- Gray, UEL student scholar and BUCS 60m champion, said.

Judoka Jake Popplewell also enjoyed success in his first BUCS Championships with the University, winning a silver medal on the second day of the competition.

He said, "I've been able to access all the support I need and that has helped me come in to my first BUCS Championship. My journey starts here and through the support and guidance from my coaches and the University, I’ll be able to come back and take the gold."

Current men’s U21 World Champion Jona Efoloko won his second BUCS medal. He added the 200m silver this year to the 60m silver he won in 2019.

He said, "It's great. A lot of people tell us how privileged we are to be at the University of East London because of the support we get.

"Any time I need support, whether that is with my training or mental preparation, I am always able to get help. A lot of people just concentrate on the running, but everything around it is just as important, and the University puts a focus on that, which I'm really grateful for."

Meanwhile, in Durham, Chris Bowers and Phoebe Spicer continued the form of the East London sprinters with Chris securing gold in the kayak and Phoebe going one better by securing gold in both the canoe and kayak categories.

The five other medals came from ambulant sprinter and jumper Jordan Andrews, who won silver in both of his events; Marian Abdul-Rashid, who won gold in the women’s 60m hurdles; Jonothon Ross, who took bronze in the men's 60m hurdles; and Adam Peters who secured bronze in the men’s individual kata.

Director of Sport Matthew Tansley said, "It was a great team effort, and it's particularly special for the University to have achieved its first ever BUCS national record on the track.

"There is an expectation now among the sector in terms of our performance level. Year on year, we consistently lead the way in terms of supporting inclusive talent.

"The performances this weekend are a testament to that. It’s also great to see our staff and student athletes supported by student volunteers from our sports therapy, sports journalism and photography degree programmes."

The University of East London is a TASS Accredited Dual Career Site which enables athletes who are competing at the top level to access support services that will ensure they can continue to perform athletically while completing their studies.

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