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Queen Mary students medal at BUCS

PUBLISHED: 11:57 26 February 2016 | UPDATED: 11:57 26 February 2016

Queen Mary's Lina Nielson (centre) poses with her 400m gold medal at the BUCS finals

Queen Mary's Lina Nielson (centre) poses with her 400m gold medal at the BUCS finals

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Elite trio combine for four medals

Queen Mary's Lina Nielson wins the 400m at the BUCS finalsQueen Mary's Lina Nielson wins the 400m at the BUCS finals

Elite athletes from Queen Mary Students’ Union were among the medals at the British University and College Sport (BUCS) National Championships in Sheffield.

The elite programme at the Mile End institution enables student athletes to focus on their studies, training and competition and less about the financial barriers that come with performing to a high level.

And Queen Mary’s Lina Nielson stormed to 400m gold on the track, while Kate Karwacinski won karate gold and bronze and Erato Antoniou a silver.

A delighted Nielson said: “Winning BUCS is a major stepping stone for me! I had a lot of confidence going into the championships, being the fastest 400m runner, so I knew that the gold medal would be mine if I just stayed focused and performed to the best of my abilities.

Queen Mary's Kate Karwacinski won karate gold and bronze at the BUCS finalsQueen Mary's Kate Karwacinski won karate gold and bronze at the BUCS finals

“I led and controlled the races in both my heat and semi, and when it was the final I knew I needed to do the same thing.

“Crossing the line first felt amazing! It was a good way to end my indoor season and I’m looking forward to see how I can build on this in the outdoor season.”

Karwacinski won her first three kata rounds without dropping a flag, but was edged out in her semi-final, 3-2, before bouncing back for bronze.

The senior female under-68kg kumite category was a tough section, with several England team members in action.

Queen Mary's Erato Antonio gives the thumbs up after winning a medal at the BUCS finalsQueen Mary's Erato Antonio gives the thumbs up after winning a medal at the BUCS finals

But Karwacinski battled through four rounds to reach the finals, which were played out in front of a packed audience.

“I felt confident but nervous as I was desperate to try and once again retain my title from the previous year, the pressure was on!” she said.

“I was in the fourth final to take place and was against a friend and rival from the English national team. But I claimed gold and the title of BUCS champion, winning 2-0 after a tense, but exciting match.

“I’m delighted to have brought home two medals for Queen Mary and having retained my title, now three-times BUCS gold medalist!

“I want to thank all the Queen Mary team who give such amazing support and guidance in my training, especially my coach Mark Morrison who has pushed my training to the limit and without which I would not have achieved this amazing result.”

Antoniou was in action in the under-55kg kumite and came away with a superb silver, adding: “It’s an honour being selected by Queen Mary to participate in such a massive, university championship.

“Unfortunately, I didn’t get the gold medal, but this was an incredible experience and I will try my best to get that gold in the next BUCS.

“I want to thank Mark Morrison and Shaz Morrison (Queen Mary Students Union Strength and Conditioning Coaches), for all the support and help they’ve been offering to me and the rest of the Queen Mary Elite Athlete Squad, since day one.”

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