A Brixton fencer admits his latest victory was bittersweet after defeating his university teammate to win épée gold at BUCS Nationals in Sheffield.
Tommy Curran-Jones, a philosophy and politics student at Durham University, triumphed 15-13 over Anthony Avis to take home the coveted title, having worked his way through the competition involving more than 120 fencers.
Taking place over the weekend, BUCS Nationals saw more than 6,000 students from across the country descend on the Steel City for three action-packed days of sport.
And for former Dulwich College pupil Curran-Jones, the annual competition – now in its fifth year – offers opportunities like no other.
“I’ve been fencing with Anthony for five or six years and we train with each other three times a week in the club, so that final was amazing,” said the 21-year-old.
“It’s just great to bring gold and silver back to Durham, and it was lovely to fence with him.
“I felt pretty confident at the beginning but I was a bit worried at the end.
“Anthony’s a good fencer, he’s fenced me a lot, and he knew what I was going to do, but I just had to stick it out.
“The experience of being at BUCS Nationals has been amazing, and it’s great seeing so many people I know.
“It’s such a small sport so to get to see people you don’t always see is nice, it’s been very well organised, the competition has run very smoothly which is always nice when you’re an athlete, it’s just been a great day.
“BUCS Nationals has helped further my career by the real commitment I need just to win. The drive and those skills you develop just wanting to win have been massively helpful.”
The UK’s largest annual multi-sport event, BUCS Nationals has provided a building block in the fledging careers of many of Great Britain’s finest athletes.
And with lofty ambitions for his future in fencing, Curran-Jones insists he is committed to the cause as he turns his attentions to reaching the top.
“I’m a senior GB fencer so I see my career in fencing possibly progressing to the Olympics and Commonwealth Games – that would be amazing,” he said.
“Over the next three or four years I would like to progress to more senior international competitions, so that means world cups, across the five continents, so I definitely see myself training more and more.
“I can see fencing as a possible career for me, but there’s not a lot of money in it, so it’s probably a back-up at the moment.
“Reaching the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games is definitely the dream for every athlete here, I’m going to work towards it, but it will be a challenge.”
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.
BUCS Nationals is the UK’s largest annual multi-sport event, bringing over 6,000 athletes to Sheffield to compete in 9 sports.