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Vanessa Wallace breaks two UK records to lead UEL medal charge at BUCS Athletics Championships

UEL athletes enjoy most successful championships in history with 11 medals, eight of them gold

By Gareth Anstice

University of East London (UEL) student Vanessa Wallace (formerly Daobry) smashed two UK records as UEL powered to its largest ever medal haul at the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Outdoor Athletics Championships.

Vanessa, who competed for Britain at the Rio Paralympics last summer, was the star of the UEL show as she set UK records in the seated shot put and discus at the three-day meeting in Bedford.

Competing in the F34 classification, the wheelchair shot put specialist added 10cm to her own UK shot put record with a throw of 7.56 metres – a world-leading distance for 2017 and UEL’s first gold of the championships.

And then in her first ever competitive outing in the F34 discus, Vanessa amazed even herself by throwing a UK record of 17.36 metres – the second longest throw in the world this year. 

"I'm floating,” said Vanessa, who has reverted to her maiden name, Wallace, as she is currently filing for a divorce.

“I'm over the moon right now. Obviously, it's great to do a personal best in the shot this early in the season. It shows the work we've been doing is working and pointing me in the right direction.
 
"It was great to pick up the first gold for UEL over the competition and I hadn't even had three weeks training at discus, so it's crazy that I managed the second biggest throw in the world this year. 

“I'm tired from throwing in two disciplines but that's what we do at UEL – we push ourselves to achieve results.

“It's brilliant to be part of this team. The vibe over the weekend was amazing. It was destined for us to have a special weekend because we were all working so hard and were all in this together. I'm looking forward to the next BUCS so we can dominate again."

Vanessa was just one of UEL’s success stories over the Bank Holiday weekend as the University claimed an unprecedented 11 medals, including eight golds.

The final day turned into a ‘Magic Monday’ for UEL, with its athletes taking four golds in sprint events.

Kyle Ennis followed up his gold medal at the BUCS Indoor Championships by securing the men’s outdoor 200 metres crown after a photo finish in a winning time of 21.40 seconds.

He was followed on to the podium by Maya Bruney, who scorched to a convincing win in the women’s 200 metres, beating her beating her closest rival by more than a tenth of a second in 23.95 seconds.

Kyle then combined with relay team-mates Shad-Marc Aaron, Jared Lane and Adeseye Ogunlewe to secure the men’s 4x100 metres gold for UEL, in 40.68 seconds – nearly a second quicker than nearest challengers Cardiff Metropolitan.

The UEL women’s 4x100 metres quartet of Maya, Corrine Humphreys, Sydney Griffin and Mobolaji Adeokun also beat Cardiff Metropolitan into second place, taking gold in a time of 45.76 seconds.

With that relay win, Corrine captured her second gold of the weekend after earlier securing the women’s 100 metres title in 12.08sec.

It was also a second medal for Sydney, who won bronze in the women’s 100 metres hurdles.

In the last race of the championships, UEL took the bronze medal in the men’s 4x400 metres, missing out on the silver by just a tenth of a second.

UEL also showed its strength in the field events with Youcef Zatat and Lorn Mayers joining Vanessa in claiming medals.

Youcef, who made his senior GB debut earlier this year, blitzed the competition with a winning throw of 17.23 metres – more than a metre longer than his nearest rival.

Lorn then threw 12.38 metres in the men’s ambulatory shot put. Although this was the longest throw in the competition, the event featured mixed disabilities and, when the scores were calculated, Lorn took the silver medal overall.