Athletics: Wembley triple jumper Lia Stephenson in shock at victory at BUCS Nationals
PUBLISHED: 16:00 21 February 2018
Middlesex student triumphed at competition in Sheffield
Speechless was the only way Wembley triple jumper Lia Stephenson could describe her stunning BUCS Nationals victory in Sheffield.
The Middlesex student produced a jump of 12.54m to clinch a fine gold medal, beating University of East London’s Eavion Richardson by seven centimetres.
Stephenson revealed she has been blighted by ankle injures after tearing her ankle ligaments in 2014.
But having made it back to full fitness, the 21-year-old is bursting with confidence and hopes she can create winning a habit.
“I’m genuinely speechless,” Stephenson said.
“Last season wasn’t great because I was injured and had a few niggles that have been bugging me for a few years.
“I came into the qualifiers jumping 12.15m but I had a few problems with my run up but I’m delighted with how I’ve done. I’ve been fully focussed with what I needed to achieve.
“It’s the first time I’ve been able to jump at this level for about a year so it’s nice to be back into my rhythm.
“I’m no longer strapped up on my ankles. I’m back, full-bodied. It’s just a pleasure to jump again and it’s my final BUCS too.”
This year saw BUCS Nationals return for its sixth year, bringing together individual BUCS Championship events which take place across Sheffield.
More than 500 officials and volunteers made the sport happen from February 16-18, with this the largest annual multi-sport event in the UK.
And having got her mojo back with a clean jump in Sheffield, the triple jumper is looking at a brighter 2018.
She said: “I’m so overjoyed that I didn’t give up and it was a mental battle to do well. You cannot push your body beyond that limit. The pain was excruciating at the end of last season, especially at the UK U23 Championships - I was pulling out of jumps and having fouls.
“It was a bad end to the season so I’m happy I’ve started this season very well.
“I want to qualify for the U23 UK Championships this year. I’m hoping to jump 13m this year and if I can break that barrier anything is achievable for me. It’s just getting there.”
• BUCS Nationals powered by Muhdo is the largest annual multi-sport event in the UK, bringing the best of Britain’s university athletes together to compete across eight different sports in Sheffield. More info at bucs.org.uk and via #BUCSNationals