Celebrating the Best in Sporting Achievement at Bath

On Wednesday 8 May we gathered at the Assembly Rooms to celebrate the fantastic sporting achievements of Bath Students.

The Blues Awards Ceremony is a fantastic opportunity to look back and celebrate the incredible sporting achievements of students at Bath. This year has seen record numbers of sports club members, with over 5900 people joining our 48 clubs, the passion and commitment shown this year has been exceptional.

Over 400 committee members have been working extraordinarily hard to create enjoyable environments, where everyone has the opportunity to participate, develop, and excel through sport. Our student-athletes have certainly worn those famous colours with distinction over the past year, and many have also represented their countries with great success on the international stage.

At this special annual event, we celebrate the sporting achievements of students at the University of Bath and as ever, our athletes have shown dedication to their sports and excelled both in individual competition and as team members.

Across the 14 awards categories, 142 winners were presented with awards last night for their accomplishments. Award categories range from Ribbons, for students who have consistently represented the University of Bath over the last few years, Club of the Year which celebrates the success and achievements of a single club, and Sports Personality of the Year, which recognises the outstanding contribution a student has made during their time at Bath.

One such winner is Tom Sawko who won the SU Bath Sport Volunteer Coach of the Year award last night, recognising the significant impact to sport he has made as a volunteer student coach. Since becoming a Bath student, Tom has been an extremely dedicated and involved member of the Volleyball club, as well as actively pursuing and developing the Coaching Mentorship Scheme aimed at bringing together players who are interested in coaching together with more experienced coaches. An ambitious and devoted individual, Tom has committed a considerable amount of time to his club, as the chair, player-coach, recreational coach, sitting volleyball coach, and the BUCS Beach Volleyball Coordinator. In February, Tom was elected the new SU Sport Officer and in June will go on to represent the voice of all students at Bath and continue to champion sport.

An Honorary Blue is awarded to any person who has made an outstanding contribution to the development of university sport, and this year the award went to Emma Chandler. Emma has been involved both in a playing sport as well as in a volunteering capacity throughout her time at Bath. Despite being plagued with injuries, she has continued to dedicate a significant amount of time to the development of both the Netball Club and the wider sporting offer. She has been dedicated to improving the inclusion and wellbeing of all SU Sport members by linking Bath to the Mental Health Charter for Sport and Recreation. By giving her heart and soul over the past few years she has contributed to the development of both netball and the wider student sport offer at Bath, all of which make her a worthy winner of an Honorary Blue.

Each year we award Sports Personality of the Year to a student who has contributed significantly to student sport during their time at university and who encapsulates the spirit of university sport and pride here at Bath. Voted on and decided on by students, this prestigious award is an incredible achievement to win. This year Sports Personality of the Year has been awarded to Heleen Maes. An exemplary Volleyball Club member throughout her two years, and 100+ hours volunteered to coach both recreational and competitive sessions, her involvement with the M1’s saw a more technical side developing. The season finished with Heleen passing her level 1 Volleyball England coaching course with flying colours.

An award for outstanding first team performance is BUCS Team of the Year, and this year the award went to Men’s Badminton 1st Team, with Women’s Hockey 1st Team in 2nd place, and Men’s Ultimate 1st Team in 3rd. The Men's 1st team have gone from strength to strength in the past season. They reached the final of the Championship last season at Big BUCS Wednesday putting up a valiant fight against a very strong Loughborough side losing 5-3. In the 2018/19 season the team claimed victory in the Premier South League for the 15th year in a row, consistently showing their dominance in already such a competitive league winning all 10 matches, 7 of which were clean sheets (8-0 victories) and losing only 5 rubbers during the entire year.

It’s not just sporting achievement that puts a club in the running for an impressive award, huge accomplishments come from the dedication and hard work a club puts in to make sure its players develop both on and off the field. Club of the Year recognises the success and achievements clubs can attain when they function effectively as a whole, and last night Volleyball, Cheerleading, and Snowsports were in the for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place. This year Club of the Year was awarded to Volleyball for not only making sure the club performed well, but for the inclusive and fun environment that they created for their members. Through the development, growth, and increased attention to certain aspects of the club, their members were able to benefit from a wide range of resources, events, projects, and opportunities to develop themselves as players and people.

After winning the inclusivity award in the 2017/18 year, the club was motivated to ensure they maintained a high standard and progression in every aspect related to inclusivity. The club introduced regular drop in sessions with its Welfare and Inclusivity officer for members to have a space to voice concerns and weekly yoga sessions, partnered with the LGBTQ+ community to spread awareness and inclusion, and recognised the lack of postgrad representation so ran postgrad-friendly sessions as well as postgrad-only tournaments to encourage PG engagement.

This year the club also introduced a new competitive development team aimed at bridging the gap between recreational levels and the 2nd teams. Their recreational offer increased to 4 sessions per week, with newly introduced specialised recreational coaches, allowing higher development and engagement. They opened up one weekly recreational session to Bath Active to allow more students to participate in volleyball in a social and non-competitive environment, and as part of the Bath Active programme, and with sponsorship from Wessex Water, the club has introduced Sitting Volleyball provision for the first time. Through this year’s Inclusive Sports day, the club were able to showcase Sitting Volleyball, and increase awareness around campus and through weekly training sessions the structure is in place for a potential competitive team in the future.

 “The Blues Awards is a highlight of the sporting calendar and epitomises the talent, success and hard work of our students and staff. It was a wonderful night celebrating such a fantastic year of sport with the amazing people who’ve made it possible.” Andy Galloway, SU Sport Officer

A huge congratulations goes to everyone who was nominated and who won an award last night, and a special thankyou goes to The SU Bath Sport team for organising such a fantastic night.

For a full list of award winners click here.

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