January’s Performance of the Month goes to Jonny Hay (1st Year Chemistry) for an exceptional performance at the Great Edinburgh Cross Country in January, achieving arguably one of the best results of his career so far; in the Men’s 3km short course event at the foot of Arthur’s Seat, he kept himself in contention and then produced an unbelievable sprint finish to cross the line second, ahead of Olympic medallist Eliud Kipchoge who finished third, and further down the field the legendary, albeit out of form Kenenisa Bekele. After the race Jonny said "Edinburgh was an amazing way to start my senior career and 2012. Racing against three Olympic champions and overcoming two of them makes this a race I will never forget and hopefully shows a good year ahead is still to come."
Other notable performances
Also competing in Edinburgh, Hannah Walker (2nd Year Human Biology) finished a creditable 8th in the Women’s 6km course, narrowly beating Olympic hopeful Stephanie Twell. There were also excellent performances when three UBS scholars headed to Eastern Europe to compete at the European Cross Country Championships, taking their places in a Great Britain team that was to dominate the competition in the Slovenian town of Velenje. Hannah was the highest finisher for Birmingham, achieving an excellent 7th place in the Under-23 Women’s race, just 15 seconds behind the winner, while Lauren Howarth (4th Year Medicine) was 13th. The girls were also part of the victorious women’s team in that race who took home the gold medal. In the Junior Men’s race, POTM winner Jonny Hay
was 8th, and also returned home with a team gold.
Fresher Pippa Woolven (1st Year SportEx) also recorded some good results over the festive period; she followed up a win at the Brussels Lotto Cross Cup in Belgium with a 3rd place at the European Permit Meeting in Elgiobar, Spain, representing England Under 20s on both occasions.
Decathlete Michael Sweeney (4th Year Sport and Material Science) competed well during the first few weeks of the indoor season, achieving PBs in the Pole Vault, 60m, Long Jump, and 60m hurdles.
James Lauder (3rd Year Sports and Material Science) and Alyssa Lim (3rd Year English) competed at the Hampshire Gold Tournament in December; one of several competitions in the Senior Gold Circuit, the highest level of domestic competition in UK badminton. The two UBS scholars teamed up to win the mixed doubles and Alyssa also took victory in the ladies doubles, while James reached the
final in the men’s doubles. At the Welsh International Tournament both players reached the quarter finals in the men’s and ladies’ doubles respectively, with James losing an extremely close match, ending 21-19 in the 3rd set to the number one seeds.
Ciara Horne (2nd Year Physiotherapy) travelled to Columbia to compete in the Cali World Cup at the beginning of December. Taking part in the Individual Pursuit, she finished in 11th place, with a 4 second PB, just 0.3 seconds outside of the top 10. Her outstanding performance gives her a current world ranking of 15th, an excellent achievement in itself.
Ollie Mapp (1st Year Maths) competed at the British Junior Open Championship where he achieved a final placing of 25th, after winning 3 of his 5 matches, beating 2 players ranked 11th and 12th in Europe.
Alessandro Lazdins (2nd Year Medical Sciences) competed at the Swiss Regional Championships finishing 5th in the 50m Butterfly , swimming a new PB, and taking the silver in the IM relay.
World 1500m Silver Medallist Hannah England was narrowly beaten at the Aviva International Match in Edinburgh, in a blistering sprint finish after a slow start to the race. SportEx Graduate James Wilkinson excelled at the European Cross Country Championships to take the silver medal in the Under 23 Men’s Race.