COMMONWEALTH Games swimmer Max Litchfield admits he can’t wait to see the Steel City continue...

COMMONWEALTH Games swimmer Max Litchfield admits he can’t wait to see the Steel City continue to show off the very best of British sporting talent after the City of Sheffield confirmed it would host BUCS Nationals for the next three years.

Max Litchfield, Vince Mayne and Luke Howdle

Max Litchfield, Vince Mayne and Luke Howdle

BUCS Nationals is the UK’s largest multi-sport event, with over 6,000 entries from over 100 universities represented in ten sports across seven venues.

Friday saw the 2016 edition of the indoor event get underway with a record number of entries and officials were able to mark the occasion with the news that British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) and the City of Sheffield had agreed a deal to host the competition through to 2019.

Since 1992, 65 per cent of gold medallists, 66 per cent of silver medallists and 49 per cent of bronze medallists for Team GB have come through university sport.

Litchfield, who competed for Sheffield Hallam University at Ponds Forge during this year’s event, said: “It’s a great city and for BUCS to be in Sheffield for the next three years it’s a great opportunity to see the event grow and to see what Sheffield has to offer, it’s got to be one of the best cities in the country for athletes.

“This is my third BUCS – so it’s been set in stone for me that I compete here every year.

“Obviously this time of year we are in hard training with Olympic trials in eight weeks time so it’s a really good stepping stone to see where we are at going forward.”

The new agreement is signed in conjunction with a city partnership consisting of Sheffield City Council, SIV, University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University.

BUCS chief executive Vince Mayne said: “We are delighted to be bringing BUCS Nationals back to Sheffield for a further three years, cementing our close bond with the city.

“We have always been impressed with the fantastic sporting facilities in the city and they know how to host a great event.

“This deal will allow us to grow the largest annual multi-sport event in the UK even further, utilising all that Sheffield as a city has to offer and with a record number of entries this year, we can’t wait for the championships to begin.”

This year’s BUCS Nationals comes at a crucial time for aspiring sportsmen and women, with Rio 2016 on the horizon, and Olympic champion and Sheffield golden girl Jessica Ennis-Hill is delighted to see her city continue to support a crucial pathway for athletes.

“It’s great for the city to have secured yet another superb sporting event further cementing Sheffield as the sporting capital of England,” she said.

“It’s key to be supporting the next generation of athletes, which is particularly apt being in an Olympic year and from my own experience, I can say that competing at university level really helped me get to where I am today.”

Sheffield already hosts a large number of world-class sporting events with Councillor Leigh Bramall from Sheffield Council confident the city would continue to benefit from hosting the event.

“We are delighted that in collaboration with SIV, Sheffield Hallam University and the University of Sheffield, we have reached this agreement with British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) to bring their flagship Nationals event to Sheffield for another three years and is testament to the outstanding sporting facilities and hospitality in the city,” he said.

“This is a chance to showcase Sheffield to over 6,000 students – many of whom will be looking to build future careers across industries based in the city – and for them to see what opportunities the city offers them.”

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