The annual Blues Awards took place on Wednesday 26 April 2023 at the Pump Rooms.
Please click here to view the 2023 Blues Award booklet and you can view some individual photos taken on the night by checking out The SU Bath Groups | Bath | Facebook
It was a truly wonderful evening celebrating sporting achievements across the year and an amazing chance to recognise how much talent we have here at Bath.
Sport Officer Elizabeth proudly commented that, ‘this year we had over 5,800 student members of SU sport, with 7,500 total club affiliations and 1,600 students taking part in BUCS, with more opportunities than ever for students to participate in and excel at sport.’
The night began with a drink's reception and a chance for students to mingle together before moving onto the awards ceremony.
The night began with the Ribbon Award, which is awarded to students who have consistently represented the University over a two or three year period. This was awarded to Antoinette Marchant for her efforts in Handball.
The Colour Award is given to students who have consistently represented the University of a two or three year period in BUCS sport. This was awarded to:
Max McManus (American Football), Chiara Andreotti, Emily Arrell, Lily Aungier, Maddy Brown, Priya Dhatt, Anna Kanz, Maddie Robertson, Serefina Rowden, Kate Walsh, Eleri Webber, Anya Welch (American Football and Futsal), Christopher Liu, Emma Ford, Caitlin Illingworth, David Phillips, Rochit Shelkikar (Badminton), Arnau Ayerbe Garcia, Carlos Becker, Philip Bird, Hannah Brown, Lewis Cox, Josh Davis, Damon de Cardoso, Angus Edkins, Benedek Goldmann, Rebecca Miller, Martin Moreno Delgado, Maria Valderrabano (Basketball), Catriona Gilmour, Katie Little (Fencing), Lauren Bond, Jac Cleaver, Will Cook, Sophie Dixon, Colin Dudrey-Harvey, Teona Goodge, Will Gray, Toby Hill, Bryn Jones, Johnny Kerr, Sam Leigh, Antoinette Marchant, Benjamin McElroy, Jacob Melville-Smith, Jennifer Metcalf, Lukas Moment, Ollie Nedderman, Lucy Prest, Charlotte Satchwell, Ben Scriven, Fraser Smellie, Jack Smith, James Smith, Jacob Staig, Alice Steel, Rosie Usher, Lydia Woodcock (Hockey), Matthew Bowen, Ben Lawson, Eleanor Brzeskwinski, Max Diamond, Maya Frost, Agatha Greenway, Sophie Hounsell, Koray Ibrahim, Phoebe James, Sarah Lowe, Ellie Mason, Claudia Shehadeh, Amy Tapper (Lacrosse), Jemma Nightingale, Jasmine Nightingale (Netball), Bella Balion, Danielle Price (Riding), Sam Bridges, Anna Newell, Tabitha Reynolds, Tom Williams (Rugby- Union and League), Jessica Westlake (Swimming), Tim Walters, Aimee Wong (Table Tennis), Paul Petan (Taekwondo), Matthew Doe (Tennis), Bryce Jersing (Triathlon), Stella Jukic, Kin Lo, Helin Özer, Chara Sofocleous, Andrea Spalova, Scott Williams (Volleyball).
The Honorary Colour awards are given to students who have made a valuable contribution to the administration and development of a sport or recreation in the University or British Universities, either within a club or SU Sport as a whole. This was awarded to:
Max McManus (American Football), Kate Walsh, Lily Aungier (Association Football and Futsal), Davane Celi (Cheerleading), Liv Best (Lacrosse), Emma Hill, Emma Payne (Netball), Bryce Jersing (Triathlon), Maria Valderrabano (Volleyball).
The Half Blue is awarded to students with junior international representation or podium finishes in BUCS while competing for a University first team. This was awarded to:
Joseph O’Loughlin (Association Football and Futsball), Katie Scott, Alicia Chu, Emma Hooper (Badminton), Catherine Bishop (Fencing), Oluwatoke Akinseye, Alexander Bird, Alexander Blackwell, Sebastian Di Siena, James Goldsmith, Jack O’Mahoney (Lacrosse), Isabel Highsted, Emma Payne (Netball), Ismail Hussain, Mi-Ha Snapes (Taekwondo), Emily Devey Smith (Tennis).
Full Blues are awarded to students who have competed for a University 1st team for two years along with two years’ representation at international level. This was awarded to Victoria McCabe (Hockey).
Sport has always been a central part of Victoria’s life, from playing her first ever hockey match at the age of seven to winning bronze for England at the U21 Hockey World Cup. While growing up she played every sport she could find time for, competing in IAPS National Trampolining Championships and winning gold while also ranking in the top in the country for long jump and winning bronze at the Schools National Athletics Championships. At fourteen, Victoria was selected to play for England Hockey U16 and chose to make this her main sporting focus.
At sixteen she made her debut for Clifton Robinsons playing in the Premiership League and won the England Hockey Club Championship Cup in 2019. She currently plays her club hockey with Club an der Alster in the German Bundesliga based in Hamburg where the season calendar allows for her to play in the Summer and Spring and attend the University of Bath in between. Victoria has earned over 80 junior international Hockey caps for England at U16, U18 and U21, she has played all around the world in a number of championships, most notably wining bronze at the European Championships in 2018 and bronze in the Junior World Cup in South Africa in 2022. As well as achieving personal success in 2022, when she played at the European championships in Ghent (Belgium) and was the top goal scorer within the England team.
Honorary Blue is awarded to any person who has made an outstanding contribution to the development of University Sport or who has medalled at a World Championships, World Cups or Commonwealth Games and uses the University of Bath as their main training base. This was awarded to:
Luke Turley for medalling at a Commonwealth game in Swimming.
Distance swimmer Luke enjoyed a memorable first appearance at a senior international meet when he won 1,500m freestyle bronze for Team England at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. Luke has been training at the University of Bath since 2018, initially with Mark Skimming’s student squad while studying Sports Performance. Supported by Goldsmith and Santander Sports Scholarships, he won multiple medals for Bath at BUCS competitions. After graduating in 2021 Luke joined the British Swimming Performance Centre squad where he is coached by Jamie Main.
Ed Mildred Turley for medalling at a Commonwealth game in Swimming.
Triple European Junior Championships medallist Ed has made a successful step up to senior ranks since joining David McNulty’s elite British Swimming Performance Centre Bath squad in September 2021 following the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics. He played a key role in relay heat swims at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games to help Team England win two silver and a bronze. Two more relay medals followed at the 2022 European Championships in Rome where Ed anchored a youthful British 4x100m freestyle relay squad to bronze in his first senior international final.
Arran Gulliver for medalling at a World Championship in Bobsleigh.
Arran Gulliver has enjoyed a meteoric rise since joining the University of Bath-based British Bobsleigh programme in the summer of 2022. He applied to attend summer trials in Bath after seeing an advert on Instagram and was immediately identified as having the potential to make a significant impact in the sport. He excelled in training on the University’s push-start track and was selected in Brad Hall’s GB1 crew, winning gold in his first four-man race. He went on to help British Bobsleigh win their first European Championships title, end an 84-year wait for a World Championships medal by securing silver in February and claim a first men’s bobsleigh overall World Cup medal since 1995.
Craig Thompson for medalling at a World Championship in Skeleton.
Former footballer Craig switched to skeleton through the Power2Podium programme at the end of 2014 and has gone on to win medals on all the international circuits, including bronze on the World Cup circuit in January 2021. He narrowly missed out on qualification for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games but put that disappointment behind him with some excellent performances during the 2022-23 season, capped by winning mixed team bronze with Brogan Crowley at the World Championships having missed out on an individual medal by just one-hundredth of a second.
Jess Varley, Olivia Green and Charlotte Follett for medalling at a World Championship in Modern Pentathlon.
Sport and Exercise Science student Olivia, supported by an Alumni Fund Scholarship, finished an impressive fifth in the women’s final at the 2022 Modern Pentathlon World Championships in Turkey while University of Bath alumnae Jess and Charlie were seventh and 10th respectively, meaning the trio won the women’s team title for Pentathlon GB. Jess then teamed up with men’s champion Joe Choong to win mixed relay silver.
The Awards ceremony then moved onto the Special Awards, which include; Gethin John Bevan Club Member of the Year, SU Sport Volunteer Coach of the Year, The David VandeLinde Prize, The Tugendhat Trophy for Sporting Endeavour, The Ivor Powell Award for Excellence in Coaching, BUCS Team of the Year, Club of the Year and Sports Personality of the Year.
The Gethin John Bevan Club Member of the Year acknowledges that SU Sports clubs would not function without a substantial input from student volunteers. This year’s winners were:
Liv, like many other current students across the UK began her university experience in the midst of the pandemic. As soon as she was able Liv joined the lacrosse club, however alongside playing the sport Liv also found her love of the administrative side of the club. After coming back from injury, the previous year, Liv trialled for the second team and also became captain. Being the 2nd team lacrosse captain was the driving force behind Liv applying for her second committee position in her final year. In her role as captain her teammates confided in her about personal issues and mental health stresses they were having; this motivated Liv to run for Welfare and Inclusivity officer to ensure consistency within the welfare of the club and acting as a friendly face for all members to approach if and whenever necessary whilst doing her best to mitigate and lessen mental health stigma within the club. Being a mixed-gender club with around 300 Members of both BUCS players and social members, ensuring the clubs welfare was imperative to keeping everyone safe and happy.
Liv’s commitment to her club and her advocacy for change has been an inspiration to her peers. Through her dedication and hard work, she was able to implement a real difference in the wellbeing and enjoyment of the lacrosse players and other students in her university. She has worked hard to ensure that all members of the club were safe and had access to the resources they needed to maintain their mental health. She was also instrumental in raising and creating policies and initiatives that would increase awareness and education about sexual harassment and consent, making sure that everyone was aware of the risks and how to act if necessary. Liv’s efforts have improved the safety and wellbeing of countless students and has made a lasting impact on her university community.
Max, despite being completely new to American football in 2018/19, quickly rose to become a key player and leader in the Bath Killer Bees team. He has taken on various committee roles such as Chairman and Kit Manager, serving as Team Captain for a squad of over 60 players across his last 2 years. Upon returning to Bath after his placement year, Max was voted as Chairman of the Bath Killer Bees, and despite major difficulties with training facilities and key committee positions not being filled after a year heavily affected by Covid-19, he remained determined to improve the team’s performance. Max’s unwavering commitment to the team was exemplified by his decision to pursue a BAFA Level 1 Coaching qualification to lead training sessions and collaborate with experienced players and coaches. His coaching qualification enabled the team to train during the day, which due to coach availability hadn’t been an option previously. This allowed the club to make full use of the 3G facility allowing for contact training throughout the year whilst providing an average increase in club membership by 15% compared to pre-Covid-19 years. Under his leadership went on to become league champions, with an undefeated season. In his final year, Max took on the role of Kit Manager and focused on improving the club’s kit situation, which is essential in a sport that requires a large amount of expensive equipment. This year alone there were 11 new helmets bought which are safe for use for the next 10 years. Max’s determination and outstanding contributions to a game that he is so passionate about have been invaluable to the Bath Killer Bees. He is excited for the future of the team and has expressed a keen desire to return in a voluntary coaching role.
The SU Sport Volunteer Coach of the Year recognises the significant impact to sport made through coaching by student volunteers. It recognises that such volunteers give a substantial amount of time to improve the coaching provisions within their clubs. This years award recognised Howard Richards, from Hockey.
Howard undertook the role of volunteer coach for the Bath Women’s 4th Hockey team for the 2022-23 season. His commitment to the team on top of his own playing career has gone above and beyond what they could have expected and have experienced in previous years. Howard is always available to help captains with selection issues and has been receptive to the feedback of the captains and players alike for training suggestions. Howard wanted the team to get the best out of their training with him and created a fun, competitive atmosphere for the hockey season. When unavailable to coach matches due to having clashes with his own playing commitments, Howard has supported games from afar, including being in constant communication with those on the side line, helping them to coach when he was travelling back from away matches. Howard arranged for other coaches to help the team when he was unavailable, and even waited over 3 hours after his away match to stay with the team and coach them despite the team being the last match of the day. He gives up much of his time to help and coach the team despite having his own training and being busy with his PhD. Howard has helped the Bath Women’s 4th team have their best season in many years, winning the Women’s Western Tier 3 and getting to the Quarter Final of the ICG Women’s Western Conference Cup, the furthest the 4th team have progressed in the Cup in over 5 years. Howard has exceeded what is expected of a volunteer coach and deserves this award to recognise his integral contribution to the success of the Women’s 4th hockey team this season.
The David VandeLinde Prize recognises sporting accomplishment, leadership and academic success. This years winner was Tom Williams, from Rugby (Union and League).
As the captain of the 1st XV men’s rugby team, Tom has not only demonstrated a remarkable commitment to the sport, but also to making a positive difference in the community. As a volunteer and coordinator for the rugby club, Tom helps to organise weekly lunches for homeless people with a local charity, Genesis Trust, to provide support and assistance to those in need. Additionally, Tom has organised litter-picking events for the team around Bath. Tom is on track to reach over 40 games played in BUCS Super Rugby by the end of the season, making him one of the highest capped players in the competition and in the history of UBRFC. Tom’s hard work and commitment has paid off as he has developed as a player over the years, starting in the freshers’ team in his first year and eventually playing in all five BUCS teams before making his 1st XV debut in his second year. Under his leadership, the team is on course to achieve its highest league finish on record this season and a positive change of culture has been observed within the squad. Despite the rigorous demands of his sport, Tom has maintained an excellent academic record while pursuing an integrated Master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering. He is currently predicted to achieve first class honours. Tom has also gained valuable experience as part of the Bath Rocket Team, where he played a significant role in designing the nozzle and combustion chamber for the hybrid motor subsystem that will propel the rocket at the 2023 Spaceport America Cup. Moreover, as part of his ongoing Master’s research project, Tom is working with Swedish company Scandinavian Realheart to assist in the design of a Total Artificial Heart. The project involves creating a computational fluid dynamics model to accurately predict thrombus formation in the Realheart and other blood pumping devices. This level of academic rigour is a testament to his focus and dedication, and he is contributing to this important field alongside his athletic pursuits.
The Tugendhat Trophy for Sporting Endeavour recognises the successes achieved by student athletes in new areas, unfamiliar to them before their arrival at University. The prize will be awarded to a student who has started a sport as a fresher and gone on to improve sufficiently to achieve a BUCS podium finish inside three years. This year’s winner was Sebastian Di Siena, from Lacrosse.
Seb came to university and attended taster sessions as a fresher and fell in love with the sport of Lacrosse. After only 2 months from picking up a Lacrosse stick, Seb was selected to play for the Men’s 1st team. Over the next 2 years Seb was strongly involved in the club, as the club’s first Mixed Coordinator on the committee, whilst also representing the Men’s 1st team regularly in fixtures. Following the conclusion of his placement year, Seb co-captained and co-coached the Men’s 1st team in their most successful season in 6 years, winning the BUCS Southern Premiership and subsequently winning the Team of the Year at the Blues Awards 2021-22 in recognition of the team’s success. That summer Seb also achieved a pot on the South England Men’s Squad to play at the British Nationals where the squad achieved a 3rd place. In his final year, Seb has undertaken the chairman committee role for the lacrosse club, whilst also representing the Men’s 1st team in their first ever unbeaten league season. At the start of the academic year Seb also travelled to Venice to trial for the Italian National Men’s team, in which he was successful in achieving a spot on the training squad. This February he will be representing Italy against the Austrian, Polish and Czech national teams to prepare for the World Championships this summer, where Seb hopes to obtain a position on the final squad going to the worlds.
The Ivor Powell Award for Excellence in Coaching recognises the significant impact to sport made by coaches based at the University campus. An exceptionally high calibre of winners is maintained as the award is only presented when suitable candidates are available. The Ivor Powell Award is intended to recognise qualities of excellence in a coach epitomised by Ivor Powell himself, who represented passion, integrity, and total commitment to University sport. This award was presented to Antonio Wilburn.
Antonio Wilburn is not just a coach, but a mentor and role model for the basketball team. His wealth of experience as a former professional basketball player in Europe and as a successful collegiate player in NCAA III and NAIA II in New York City and Vermont has been invaluable in shaping the team’s culture and development. Despite the challenges of competing with universities that have professional and scholarship players, Antonio has consistently led the Men’s 1st team to compete for top position in Western 1A, with the men’s 1st team reaching the playoffs for promotion to the premier division in the 2021-22 season. This is a testament to his ability to develop and bring out the best in his players, who have grown in skill and confidence under his leadership. Antonio goes above and beyond what is required of him as a coach, investing a considerable amount of time and effort into scouting opponents and identifying potential players for recruitment. This dedication has been a key factor in the team’s success and has created a fluid pathway through development basketball up into the BUCS teams, allowing players to progress as they improve. Furthermore, Antonio has played an instrumental role in upskilling and training other coaches within the club. His mentorship and guidance have been invaluable in developing the current Women’s 1st team coach and the Men’s Development Team coach, among others. In short, Antonio’s contributions to the University’s basketball club has been immeasurable. He has consistently demonstrated his ability to develop and bring out the best in his players. Antonio’s dedication and passion for the sport have not only contributed to the team’s current success but also to its future growth and development making him a true asset and a deserving winner of this award.
The Team of the Year Award is only open to the 1st team of any sport and will be presented purely on the level of performance and achievement during the season.
Men’s Football 1st Team:
After a successful 2021-22 season finishing 2nd in the league the team lost 10 starting players last year and repeating the same success this year was deemed unlikely. Extraordinarily, the team has defied all expectations winning the league after 9 games and finishing with a record of 8 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss. They have the top scorer in BUCS (Joe O’Loughlin with 10 Goals) and the second top scorer (Sam Meakes with 9 goals) and have the best record in both the south and north BUCS Premier Leagues. Furthermore, 3 of the first team players have just been selected for the England University South team and will play the North team to try and earn their place in the Home Nation squad. Men’s football at the University is mostly known due to their success as Team Bath FC and the famous FA Cup runs they embarked on, however, little is known about the University of Bath 1st team successes in BUCS. University of Bath football has won the BUCS Premier South once in the 2005-06 season and has won the National Championship once in the 2011-12 season however since then success has been limited. In January 2015 Che Wilson joined Team Bath as First Team coach and has been steadily building a programme to take the Men’s 1st team back to the top. With assistant coach Billy Clark and the help of all the extra staff the consistency of training and top-level coaching has established the foundations to create a league winning team. Over the last 4 years, Bath have been led on the pitch by 1st Team Captain Joe O’Loughlin and the continuity of the coaches and captains’ leadership has led to the success of this season. The team finished with the most points ever for a Bath side in the BUCS Premier South and won the league for the first time in 17 years.
Men’s Lacrosse 1st Team:
While last year’s Men’s 1st team had seen huge levels of success, this year’s team consisted of an almost entirely new roster of players with big boots to fill. The players returning from placement and the quickly improving second-years had their sights not only on the league title, but also on going undefeated and showing complete dominance in the Southern Premiership. Both these goals were achieved in style as the team saw both comfortable wins vs Cardiff, Marjon and Exeter, as well as nail-biting finishes vs a formidable Bristol team. This game saw the players come back from 3-5 down to win 9-8 in the final minute and is a testament to the team’s attitude throughout the season and for each game: an unwavering perseverance for the win. While the team consists of plenty of strong individual talent, with a record-breaking 9 players making the South West English Universities lacrosse team (and 2 in the reserves), their success can only be attributed to the incredible teamwork and demeanour showed throughout the entirety of the season. Not once did the players become complacent and instead strove for constant improvement. his record-breaking and entirely dominant season for the M1s will set a new standard for University of Bath Lacrosse.
Women’s Tennis 1st Team:
Winning the National BUCS league for the first time since 2015 this year, going undefeated all season whilst competing amongst the top 6 tennis universities in the country. Placed as number 1 seeds in the BUCS national cup, the Women’s 1st completed the double later in the semester for the first time in almost 10 years, as well as no.1 and 2 players Freya Davies and Orla Cooper competing as top seeds in the BUCS singles individual championships. 4 out of 6 of the team also medalled at BUCS individuals this year (Freya Davies and Orla Cooper winning silver and Millie Devey Smith and Daniella Bellini winning bronze), showing the strength in depth of the team. These achievements were made possible through incredible team spirit, led by head coach Craig Proctor, who has dedicated uncountable hours to support and develop the players’ tennis.
The Club of the Year award recognises the success and substantial achievements clubs can attain when they function effectively as a whole. For the first time, the award this year was presented with a cash prize- 1st place was awarded £1000, 2nd place was awarded £500 and 3rd place was awarded £250.
Golf Club – 1st Place
The University of Bath Golf Club has offered new thriving recreational and development golfing opportunities. The club has grown, and is currently at its largest membership, surpassing their membership target by 32%. This has been complemented by a much-improved retention amongst recreational golfers and an increased number of female golfers. The club has worked tirelessly to reduce the gap between recreational and BUCS golfers, launching the first ever golf 3rd team. The club has been committed to making golf more affordable and inclusive- they negotiated a student green fee deal, which has been used over 150 times. They also bought a set of society golf clubs and paired with Bath Active to hold free fortnightly golf sessions. The sessions have been a great success. In addition, this season’s aim was to increase recreational opportunities. The committee liaised with Bath Golf Club to hold weekly Wednesday roll-ups. Their largest roll-up had over 60 players. The club also hosted a series of recreational golf competitions throughout the season. In April, the club put on their running shoes for a charity speed golf event to fundraise for the NSPCC at Bath Golf Club, joined by the University of Bristol and the University of West England. The success of the club in BUCS has been incredible. The first team finished 2nd in the Southern Premiership, which is their best finish to date. Having only lost one league game all season. The 1st team qualified for the National Championship team finals. The University of Bath Golf Society is an inclusive club situated at Bath Golf Club which borders the university campus, perfect for lessons, performance training for the BUCS squad and social matches and competitions. Outside of team golf, the society is proactive in organising social competitions and lessons for all abilities at extremely competitive prices. This inclusion within the sport is reflected in social events, which are regular and inclusive throughout the year. The society has grown rapidly over the past few years, allowing future opportunities such as non BUCS teams and inter-society knockout competitions.
Hockey Club – 2nd
The club has had a great season, most of the teams in the club were fighting for promotion in their respective BUCS leagues. Notably, the Men’s 2s gained promotion to Western Tier 1 and the Women’s 4s and Men’s 3s finished unbeaten in their leagues. League success has also been combined with cup success. Women’s 2 won the western conference cup final and the Women’s 1 finished runners up in the national vase final. The recreational teams in the club (Women’s 5s, Women’s 6s and Men’s 6s) have also seen a record number of fixtures being organised and played. Making sure everyone feels included has been key to their event planning and organisation. The social secretaries have successfully organised weekly activities, pairing each team up at least twice together to make sure everyone has the opportunity to meet. The committee also organised fresher-only socials to allow people to better integrate into the club was a top priority. Following a successful pre-season, including more teams in the club than ever before, the hockey club saw one of its largest intakes of new players at Fresher Trials. This would not be possible without all their volunteer coaches. They regularly take time out of their week to make sure all teams can train to their highest standard and are a huge part of the reason so many of their teams had strong seasons and made cup progress. With well over 300 members The University of Bath Hockey Club (UoBHC), a.k.a The Bath Rangers, is the biggest mixed-gender sports club at the University of Bath and one of the biggest University Hockey Clubs in the country.
Lacrosse Club – 3rd
The welfare and inclusivity team within the University of Bath Lacrosse club delivered a talk to all club members, educating about sexual assault and consent and the importance of learning the ‘correct’ behaviour in approaching social situations to ensure everyone’s safety and wellbeing. Following this they communicated with senior members of the university to both enquire and suggest about how this approach could be used to better educate more students around consent further. The club wants to push for universal education around consent and sexual assault to improve every student’s experience at university. When they first delivered this talk 4 months ago, it saw them delivering it to over 200 lacrosse club members. Since then, they have had positive meetings with senior members of the university and resulted in them developing and expanding this talk to all other societies at university. They want their Club to be spearheading change within the university, thus hopefully having a positive ripple effect across the wider community. Being a mixed gender club with around 200 members, both BUCS players and social members, ensuring the clubs welfare is imperative to keeping everyone safe and happy and this is what their welfare team strived to do day to day. The lacrosse club has gone above and beyond in creating an environment of respect and understanding. Organising the presentation covered more than the basics of what consent is, but also dived into the nuances of consent in a way that is understandable and accessible to all members of the club. The presentation has been incredibly successful, as members have reported increased awareness of the topic and an improved understanding of the importance of consent. In addition to this, the club has seen success on the field with the Men’s 1st team retaining the BUCS southern premiership with a dominant unbeaten season and the Women’s 2nd Team also winning their league with an unbeaten league season.
Sports Personality of the Year is an award that recognises a student who has contributed significantly to student sport during their time at University, and encapsulates the spirit of University sport. ‘Positive contribution’ may take many forms, including performance, service, and participation. Candidates may have achieved outstanding levels of performance, represented the University in a number of sports, or had significant input into a team, both on and off the pitch. This was awarded to Emma Payne.
Emma has been a dedicated member of the University of Bath Netball Club since her arrival at the University. She has been selected for the Women’s 1st team in all three years of study thus far, additionally being a member of the High Performance programme and the Dual Career athlete programme. Emma has also represented Team Bath Super League Academy by playing in the U21 squad in the National Performance League. During her second year Covid-19 hit and she took on the role of “PT” for the club, running online fitness sessions every week on Zoom from October to March to over 100 members. Following her placement year, she has returned to University as Chair of the club, introducing, and improving many elements. One area she enhanced was to bring in external selectors and umpires to improve the trial process. She has also introduced a new umpire development scheme using the sponsorship with BBS, with the aim of developing the standard of match play in the Development netball league and supporting aspiring umpires by receiving more practice and giving opportunities for qualifications. The club have had the biggest growth in their social media presence, which Emma has actively been involved in, including hosting a showcase match for a 1st team game. Simultaneously to her University responsibilities, she has been regularly playing externally for her club team, which she was involved in the promotion to the National Club Premier league last year. Emma also volunteers for the Team Bath Super League, helping at home games with the running of the event and marshalling of people. On top of all of this, Emma has additionally been coaching the first proper season of the Men’s/Mixed netball. Providing weekly sessions and opportunities for match play against other universities and clubs, which have been a real success. Alongside all of this, Emma is very focussed on her academics striving to maintain high standards alongside her netball career. She completed a year’s placement at the prestigious Porsche Experience Centre in Silverstone, a highly competitive placement linked to the University of Bath. Here she combined her knowledge as an athlete and a student to deliver training and nutritional programmes and education to motorsport athletes, endurance athletes and customers of the centre. Emma has also spent time supporting her university department too, volunteering as a Lead Peer Mentor and regularly attending placement events to give advice to younger students in her fourth year.
We had an absolutely amazing evening celebrating the successes of so many talented athletes and individuals! Sports Officer Elizabeth commented, ‘As I am sure you will agree, this has been a phenomenal year for student sport with some amazing breakthrough moments for clubs and individuals on a university stage’.
We wanted to say a massive thank you to everyone who came along to show support, with special thanks to Matrix who have sponsored this event and made it possible. And of course- a massive congratulations to all our winners!