Student athletes on Sport Sheffield’s Elite Sports Performance Scheme (ESPS) were honoured with awards celebrating their high calibre, often international level, achievements.

Athletes from a range of sports were acknowledged for their incredible feats, ranging from Karate to Climbing and Marathon Kayaking to Waterpolo.

The students on the ESPS receive additional coaching to push them to the next level in their respective sports and financial support to help them travel across the world to compete.

Romanian boxing international Vlad Matei is the English National Champion and two-time reigning BUCS champion and received the level 2 ESPS award.

Vlad said: “I feel great, it’s really nice to be recognised for the hard work and to get some recognition for our achievements.”

Fencer Hannah Nesbitt, who also received a level 2 award, told us how such recognition helps each of the winners to progress in their sports.

“The award is going to help me in so many ways. Fencing receives little funding, so receiving a sum of money to help pay for my trips and training is really good.

“It’ll also help with equipment costs. Weapons cost £150 minimum and you need four of them normally just in case one breaks in a competition.

“Having the money to help me with traveling to places, funding for hotel rooms, entry fees, it all helps. It is a massive opportunity.”

Another level 2 winner, Gwyneth Uttley, announced at the awards dinner that she had been selected to climb for the senior GB team.

Gywneth, who is also the 2019 BUCS champion and University of Sheffield ladies climbing captain, said: “I really didn’t think that I was going to get selected, it was a bit of a shock.”

The CATALYST award was given to two student athletes on the night, one of which was Timothy Dowden, a flatwater marathon and sprint kayak racer.

The award means that Timothy will receive a years free accomodation at Endcliffe student village.

Speaking about his award, Timothy said: “Obviously it’s amazing to have won it. I can afford to have my car at university and I definitely wouldn’t of had that without the award.”

Timothy also told us his main goal is to win a world title after coming third at the European championships more recently.

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