Manchester fencing ace Emily Ruaux admits she is floating on cloud nine after clinching a gold medal alongside her Surrey University teammates at BUCS Big Wednesday in Sheffield.
The event saw 104 student teams descend on the Steel City to compete for 50 gold medals across 14 sports with Sheffield Hallam University playing host.
Surrey faced tough opposition in Edinburgh University, but despite losing the foil, they pulled back the tie in the Sabre and Epee to win the Championship with 107 points to 97.
Ruaux is one of five Surrey teammates who fence for their country, and for the former Rivington Park Fencing Club member, the victory was a culmination of years of hard work.
“I’m really happy as it has been coming for a few years,” said the former Bolton School student. “This season we have worked really hard as a team.
“We might have a small team but at this level it really doesn’t matter because if you have really good fencers then they can use all three weapons.
“I’m massively proud of the whole team. Fencing is huge at our university so it was absolutely amazing to get the win.
“A few years ago we weren’t even in the top 40, but today our fencers got us 200 points for the university so it’s really good.
“We went to Edinburgh two years ago and lost to them in the semi-final quite badly, so it was great to make amends today when it really counted.”
Gold was also the order of the day for Manchester Metropolitan University’s football team as they came back from 2-1 down to run out 3-2 winners after extra time against Essex University.
And for captain Anthony Curran, who hails from Oldham, the victory was the icing on the cake after a rollercoaster season.
“It feels so good to be champions,” said the 22-year-old masters student. “It was a hard game and scrappy football, but I think it was a case of whoever wanted to win it the most would get it.
“I’m really proud of the boys. We had a rocky start to the season but we’ve really come together as a team and proven the doubters wrong.
“I’ve played in BUCS for four years now and I absolutely love it, and it’s one of the main reasons I decided to stay at university after graduating.
“It’s a massive part of university life, if not the biggest.”
British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) is the national governing body for Higher Education (HE) sport in the UK, organising leagues and competitions for more than 150 institutions across 52 different sports. Partnered by Deloitte, BUCS supports athletes from a grass roots level through to Commonwealth and Olympic Games hopefuls www.bucs.org.uk