Knockout weekend for the University of East London
The University of East London won a record breaking six medals at the British Universities & Colleges Sports (BUCS) championships last weekend. Boxer Lawrence Okolie kick-started UEL’s medal haul beating Chester University’s Elliot Dillion. Lawrence sealed victory in 10 seconds by knockout in the U91kg, 11-20 bouts category boxing final. UEL’s judoka’s added three medals, including a gold from Helder Francisco at the Universities competition in Sheffield.
22-year-old Francisco who was competing in his second BUCS championship was in imperious form throughout the u66kg competition winning three out of his four fights by ippon before doing the same to Anglia Ruskin’s George Buckley in the final to win gold. There was also success for UEL Sports high-performance scholars, with both Julia Scardone and Sophie Newnes taking home silver medals.
Scardone won bronze at last year’s event and was again consistent throughout the -57kg category, winning both her group matches by ippon before controversially losing to Anglia Ruskin’s Tara Fitzjohn in the final by a penalty, after a previous scoring throw was discounted by the referee. Competing in her first national Judo event, multiple-Jujitsu champion Newnes used her mixed-martial arts experience to the fullest in the -78kg category, impressing in winning her first bout with a arm bar before losing a tight final to University of London’s Shermane Henlon.
Two silver medals in the indoor Athletics for UEL’s sports scholars Cristian Morton and Kimberly Baptiste, finished a very successful championship weekend. London 2012 semi-finalist Morton sailed through the qualification rounds and led the final of the 400m throughout before being pipped on the line for second place. Having never previously represented UEL at the indoor championships, Baptiste was the surprise package. The Crawley native won her heat and semi-final running a fantastic 200m to take silver on the line. South Eastern champion Omolulu Abiodun and US student Keishana Larose finished just outside the medals in the 200m and 400m respectively, Abiodun missing out on bronze by .04 of a second. Triple jumper Thalosang Tshireletso, was unlucky not to repeat his 2013 medal success, also finishing in 4th place.
Director of sport at UEL David Cosford said “I am extremely proud of the achievements of UEL’s students. University of East London is now able to compete with the best Universities for sport in the UK, and the weekend’s success really indicates that UEL is serious about sport.”