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Athletics: Triple jump double for Brent duo

PUBLISHED: 10:00 28 February 2018

Wembley triple jumper Lia Stephenson enjoyed great success at the BUCS Nationals in Sheffield (pic: Angus Matheson)

Wembley triple jumper Lia Stephenson enjoyed great success at the BUCS Nationals in Sheffield (pic: Angus Matheson)

Archant

Brent's Lia Stephenson and Jude Bright-Davies landed a triple jump double at the British Universities & Colleges Sport Championships in Sheffield.

Middlesex University’s Stephenson, 21, was crowned women’s champion with a jump of 12.54 metres, pipping University of East London’s Eavion Richardson.

And Bright-Davies, 18, won the men’s title for Oxford University with 15.24.

Former South of England and Welsh Athletics U20 triple jump champion Stephenson has recently returned to full fitness after a series of ankle problems following a ligament tear in 2014.

“This year, the aim is to jump 13 metres and to be picked for the under-23 championships if I’m still within the age group,” said Stephenson, who finishes her Masters in Sport, Exercise and Physical Activity for Special Populations in September and hopes to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

A silver award scholarship helps cover the cost of her kit and travel and she chose her course due to the opportunity to work with people with diabetes, hypertension and other chronic diseases, after a degree at Southampton Solent.

Meanwhile, BUCS marked a double triumph for Stephenson’s coach David Johnson, as training partner Bright-Davies, won the men’s event.

“We need to know how people adapt to exercise: motivation and psychology are obviously the key words,” she added.

Dr Anne Elliott, programme leader of the MSc at Middlesex University said: “I’m incredibly proud of Lia’s recent competition success and it reflects the level of work and commitment that the students on this course give.”

Bright-Davies moved with his family from Ghana to London as a young boy and has lived for the past 11 years in Northwick Park, attending Claremont High School and winning a place to read maths at Lincoln College, Oxford last September.

He has been training in triple jump since late 2013, coached by former GB international Johnson at Perivale Park and, while at Oxford, by Daniel Hooker with Thames Valley Harriers.

But after jumping an indoor best of 15.56 to win under-20 gold and finish fourth in the senior competition last year, he has struggled with an ankle injury.

Now recovered, he hadn’t competed since summer last year and said: “It was really, really good to get that winning rush again. I couldn’t stop smiling afterwards, I was really happy.”

His ambition this year is to qualify for the World Junior Championships, adding: “Anything after that is a bonus. I need to stay fit and healthy over the next few seasons so it doesn’t hinder my development.”

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