Four Bristol Uni sports teams qualify for University European Championships

The women’s football team and men’s futsal, table tennis and water polo teams have all qualified

Four University of Bristol sports teams have qualified for the European University Sports Association (EUSA) Championships for the first time.

These successful teams are the women’s football team as well as the men’s futsal, table tennis, and water polo teams.

The student athletes in each of these teams will travel to four respective locations across Europe this summer, where they will compete with the best university teams the continent has to offer.

The University, through its facilities, strength and conditioning team, and sports psychologist and nutritionist, is helping to ensure that the teams can perform at their very best.

Matt Paine, Performance Sports Manager at the University, said it was “impressive and inspiring” to see “our incredible students competing against some of the very best in the world”.

He added: “Our sports teams have had a fantastic season and it’s great to see them getting rewarded for their hard work”.

Women’s football

On the back of winning the league by a comfortable seven points, the women’s football team are keen to bring their fantastic form to the EUSA Championships in Tirana, Albania.

Despite being knocked out of the national cup by Durham in February, the team are continuing their relentless training schedule before the tournament kicks off on June 25th.

Thirteen players will fly out to the Albanian capital this summer for a rather unconventional seven-a-side tournament, which consists of a group stage followed by knock-out rounds.

Club captain and right-back, Lizzie Moisan, who studies Security, Conflict, and Human Rights, said: “It’s an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us that we’re really going to take advantage of”.

Talking about the change from eleven to seven-a-side, she said: “We don’t normally compete in seven-a-side, so we’re purely focussing on learning and training towards that set-up”.

Men’s futsal

The men’s futsal team, who placed second in the league this season and reached the cup semi-final before being knocked out by Nottingham Trent, head to Split, Croatia this summer ahead of the tournament which begins July 18th.

The team has seen a huge increase in player numbers over the past few seasons, which has contributed massively towards the successful season they are currently having.

Club captain Luis de La Riva Brown, who studies International Business Management, stated: ‘It’s a massive deal for us to make the EUSAs, and representing the uni is great. It shows that we’ve reached a peak and hopefully we can keep this momentum over the coming seasons.

“We often play the same teams, so it’ll be amazing to play Croatian clubs, Latvian clubs, clubs from all over Europe”.

Men’s table tennis

The men’s table tennis team, who are in the midst of a hugely successful season with a cup semi-final against Nottingham Trent on the horizon, will travel to Olomouc, Czech Republic in early July for their EUSA campaign.

Their success this season is partly due to three recent additions to the team: Cypriot student Joseph Elia, who competed in the 2022 Commonwealth games, as well as Chinese students, Jinghao Wang and Jiameng Zhao, who have played at the elite level in China.

“All three are incredible players who have brought a real professionalism to our training” said club captain Billy Keegan.

He added: “We’re so excited about the tournament, I never thought I’d be able to play in such a big competition. We’ve been so close to qualifying before, so it’s great to actually pull it off”.

Men’s water polo

The EUSA water polo competition is set to begin on July 13th in Miskolc, Hungary and Bristol’s thirteen first-team players are training hard to ensure they are in peak physical condition for the all-important tournament.

Following an unbeaten league campaign last year, which saw them crowned champions, the team were unable to retain their title this season but were impressive nonetheless as they finished in second place.

Despite being unable to turn their league form into a cup run, as they lost to Sheffield Hallam in the quarter-final stage, the team remain optimistic ahead of the summer.

Club captain Jude Tinkler-Davies said: “We’re treating it like a professional tournament, and we want to put our best foot forward. We’re taking a physio with us and we’ve got a detailed training plan”.

Jude added: “There’s a lot of excitement in the team. For about half the players, this will be the last thing they do for Bristol Water Polo and it’s a culmination of years of hard work”.

Featured image via @ubwfc & @uobfutsal

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