Northumbria Jitsu proved quality trumps quantity after one of the club’s smallest teams returned from Sheffield with another mighty haul of medals.
The Sport Central-based squad headed home from the Steel City with a men’s team bronze – the fourth year running the club has bagged a podium place.
And reigning BUCS Men’s Individual champion Suraj Soren retained his title for the third successive year.
“It’s a remarkable feat,” said coach Dave Chalton. “Ruth [Chalton, coach] and I are extremely proud of the team and, of course, Soren.
“This event doesn’t get any easier – in fact it becomes more and more competitive every year and we have a reputation for success that makes us a target.
“In that context what Soren has achieved is outstanding. And the fact that men’s team maintained their record of winning a medal every year since 2013 is incredible.
“This year we fielded one of our smaller teams but there was experience as well as a number of exciting new faces.
“I’m very optimistic about the future and confident Northumbria Jitsu can maintain its position as one of the leading clubs in the country.”
Novice Danielle Church set the pace on day one in her first ever competition. “She had only been training with us for two months but she showed no sign of nerves whatsoever,” added Chalton.
“She was unfortunate to miss out on qualification for the finals but everything we saw suggests she is definitely one to watch in 2017.”
Sebastian Ziri-Sayle put on a cracking show in the purple belt category and progressed easily to the finals.
Similarly, Jon Thompson displayed some the best jitsu of his career in the light blue belt category and also made his day two final.
Assistant coach Annabel Hunter-Purvis, a veteran of the Northumbria jitsu scene strolled into the brown belt finals and Chalton added: “She delivered a technically precise show that was a joy to watch.”
Olivia Hill rose to the challenge in a tough dark blue category to claim a place in her final. And Soren - the two-time and defending BUCS individual champion – showed just why he’s become the man to beat in Sheffield.
“He displayed his usual magic and looked like a champion,” added Chalton. “It must have been tough to watch for the other guys in his category.”
Northumbria went into day two’s morning training camp in confident mood with the focus on adding to the club’s ever-expanding medal haul.
“Representing a university nationally at a sport is pressure enough,” added Chalton. “However, being in the finals brings an additional pressure knowing that a medal is within your grasp.
“Fortunately our team rose to the challenge. Every single member did Northumbria proud and Ruth and I couldn’t have asked for more.”
Thompson placed first in his category, Ziri-Sayle grabbed silver, Annabel Hunter-Purvis finished in fourth place and Soren retained his BUCS individual title.
“I have a feeling Suraj will be holding onto that title until 2017 and beyond,” added Chalton.
“His dedication is representative of every club member. They often have to balance academic workloads, part-time jobs, fitness training and jitsu training at a level that allows us be consistently placed in the top jitsu clubs in the country.
“It’s no easy task and the level of commitment needs to be immense.
“However, we have developed a clear recipe for success as the club has claimed 37 national titles and 47 silver or bronze medals in national championships in the past 13 years.
“We’re very proud of the fact that we’ve produced five ‘homegrown’ brown belts and we’re hopeful that there will be many more to come.”