Szogedi, was denied the opportunity to compete for Judo gold in the British Universities and College Sport (BUCS) National title in Sheffield. In what would have been her last competition for UEL.
“I’m very upset it was my last year in BUCS and at UEL. Everybody knew I was going to get gold.” She Said. “The knee turned out to be more severe than I first thought. If I had competed I would be taking a huge risk towards the Olympics in Rio, so I had to pull out.”
The Judoka, who also missed out on London 2012 through knee injury, was disappointed that she did not get the chance to repay UEL for its support over the last three years.
Szogedi said: “I have so much gratitude towards the university and that was the reason I was prepared to go thought the pain barrier to repay them. The only way I could give back to UEL was to win gold, so I’m gutted. UEL have given me such incredible support throughout the years it’s the only way I could foresee paying them back. Everyone knew I was winning the gold no matter what. It’s a huge loss and I feel like I have disappointed everyone.
UEL exceeded expectations by securing three medals in the judo at the BUCS Nationals at the weekend. Helder Francesco won gold at 66kg while Julia Scardone and Sophie Newnes secured Silver at 57 and 78kg respectively. The unexpected medal haul is something that fills Szogedi with pride having been involved with the judo club from the very beginning.
“I started UEL Judo club three years ago and we had no mats, nothing, I was the only Judo scholar. We never expected three medals this weekend and it was an incredible performance, really emotional. This weekend I saw how all the hard work had paid off, I was so proud, I could see the UEL was also really proud too.”
Szogedi’s satisfaction at UEL’s success was also tinged with a little regret. Szogedi has come to the end of her time at UEL and has developed strong bonds with the university and its staff. Szogedi has been instrumental in laying solid foundations for future UEL success, something she feels she would like to remain part of.
“I feel I have unfinished business here and feel like I am leaving with the job half finished. The foundations are here now, they are strong, but it’s not good enough for me. “She went on to say returning to the Sports Dock at the university was like coming home. “Part of me wants to be part of the future success. It’s not just a gym or just a facility, it’s like my second home and the people here are my friends. No matter what happens I can come here, it’s a big part of my life. I cannot see myself never coming back to UEL.
“I want UEL to be part of my journey to Rio 2016, I was here when I missed out on London 2012 and the support UEL gave me was unbelievable.”
By Steve Pauley