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Huge Medal Haul for Brunel Athletes

The Bedford International Stadium hosted the British Universities Athletics Championships which signal the start of the outdoor season. Brunel won the second largest number of medals in their history of participation in these championships with a haul of six golds, five silvers and four bronzes.

The women's team were particularly successful as they amassed their highest-ever points total of 105.5 points, exceeding the 98 points achieved in Antrim 12 years ago. There were six individual gold-medal winners on the women's team which placed them second overall behind Loughborough. The men's team finished sixth overall.

Second-year physiotherapy student Emma Pallant built on her indoor success over 3000 metres by winning gold in the 1500 metres (4:24.34 min) and silver in the 5000 metres where she also achieved a personal best of 17:43.74 min.

On the first and third days of the championships, the Sports Scholar contested rounds of both events in quick succession which demonstrated her resilience. The Brunel sprinters were also on song with Sports Scholar Joey Duck winning the 100-metre gold in 11.65 sec.

In the heats, Duck sped to 11.60 sec with a legal wind of 1.3 m/sec which qualifies her for the European U.23 Championships due to take place in Lithuania in July. She was followed in third by fellow Sport Sciences student Lucy Sargent (12.06 secs) who went on to win a further bronze in the 200 metres (25.00 secs). Duck and Sargent were joined by Katia Lannon and Dominique Blaize in the 4 x 100-metre relay in which they won a silver medal (48.31 secs).

Women's captain Tara Bird enjoyed yet another breathtaking success over 800 metres. The MA Creative Writing student left a classy field trailing in her wake as she strode to gold in 2:07.19 min.

Shelayna Oskan sought to put paid to the disappointment of a disqualification over 800 metres at the BUCS Indoor Championships with a shot at the 400-metre outdoor title. The charismatic Sports Scholar managed a bronze medal in a respectable time of 56.47 secs. Bird and Oskan joined forces with Lannon and Duck to add a silver to their medal tally in the 4 x 400-metre relay (3:41.49 min).

In the field, the Brunel women's team were given a boost on the first day of the championships with a gold-medal winning performance by Stephanie Smith in the tensest of jump-offs. After she and Bryony Raine of UWIC could not be separated having both cleared 3.70 metres, the bar was raised to 3.80 m. Both athletes failed and it was 'sudden death' with Smith holding her nerve and clearing 3.70 metres for a second time.

GB heptathlete Gemma Weetman added a silver medal in the long jump to the gold she took at the 2008 championships with a leap of 5.80 metres. Weetman bruised her foot during take-off and was unable to contest as many events as she would have liked. Fellow horizontal jumper Claire Linskill improved considerably upon the 8th place she achieved in the triple jump at the 2008 championships with a gold medal on this occasion (12.61 metres).

On the men's team, former captain Chris Hughff achieved a new championship record and personal best performance in the javelin with a distance of 76.92 metres. This places him second in the current UK senior rankings and marks a significant improvement for the Computer Sciences with Mathematics undergraduate.

Current men's captain Neil Crossley was clearly inspired by team-mate Hughff, as he snatched a bronze in the javelin with a huge personal best throw of 65.00 metres. Also in good form was Scotland international Scott Huggins in the pole vault. Huggins won silver with 4.80 metres despite a niggle in his back which appeared to threaten his BUCS campaign.

Brunel's next outing will be a three-way match against Loughborough and the Army on Wednesday 13 May at Loughborough's newly re-laid track.