Oxford students helped to make history as some of the first athletes ever to compete in the new London Olympic stadium.
Around 70 students from Oxford competed at the annual BUCS VISA Outdoor Athletics Championships, which this year also served as a test event for the Olympics.
The event was officiated by the same personnel that will be responsible for looking after Usain Bolt and other athletes this summer.
Stand-out Oxford performers included Clara Blättler of Univ, who took Bronze in the Women’s Pole Vault, Jessica Chen from Somerville, who came fifth in the Women’s 5000m and consequently tops the UK U20 rankings for 2012, and the Men’s 4X400 relay team, which is waiting for confirmation that it broke the OUAC record in the event.
Helen Hanstock, President of the Oxford Sports Federation, commented, “It was a pleasure to be involved. The organisation of the event was immaculate and I’d like to thank BUCS and the London Prepares series for providing this opportunity to all the student athletes who were able to compete.”
The competitors echoed Hanstock’s enthusiasm, telling Cherwell that the professional surroundings were an important factor in the high quality of the athletics on display.
Blättler commented, “Even while walking up to the stadium, it felt like we were approaching an exciting event. I think the atmosphere helped athletes raise their own standards, and I for one certainly felt as if I was centre-stage and performed to the best of my ability.”
Jake Shelley, a 1500m runner, agreed, adding that the venue made it “all the more exciting and nerve racking” He said, “It will be great to think that I was one of the first people to race at the Olympic stadium.”