Department of Sport

2022 Commonwealth Games sees University of Nottingham athletes prosper


The 2022 Commonwealth Games have seen plenty of success for athletes connected to the University of Nottingham. Both current students and university alumni have performed to the highest standard on a global stage, with many rewarded by earning the right to stand on the podium with medals around their neck this past week. Alongside those who have studied in Nottingham, these Birmingham games have also seen many athletes with associations to the University of Nottingham also create their own history.

With a total of 6 medals won, including 3 golds, this past week has seen plenty of highs for the #GreenandGold as they represented their countries at what was for many a home games.

Of the many highlights from across the week, Greenaway Sport Scholar and MSc Health Psychology student Gina Kennedy’s performances certainly stand out. Gina blitzed the Squash Women’s Singles competition to eventually be crowned Commonwealth champion and put a huge stamp on her highly impressive year. Meanwhile, former University of Nottingham BUCS Champion Judoka Amy Platten completed a fantastic summer by adding a Commonwealth Bronze medal to her first class Neuroscience degree.

The first medal of the games for Nottingham connections came when alumna Sophie Unwin fought back from adversity to win a magnificent silver on the track in the Paracycling. Former University of Nottingham Sport staff member Emily Campbell was crowned Commonwealth Champion in the Women’s Weight Lifting, whilst Alumni Tom Sorsby and University of Nottingham Sport Premier Squash League team member Declan James both claimed medals on the final day of the games in the Men’s Hockey and Squash Men’s Doubles respectively.

Amongst these many successes there have also been a few moments of great misfortune to deny what looked to possibly be some brilliant achievements for our athletes. We have kept track of our athlete’s success throughout with our dedicated Commonwealth webpage, and we have also summarised all the action from Birmingham in a handy guide below.


Women’s Squash

Gina Kennedy – Women’s Singles Commonwealth Champion | Gold Medal

Beginning her Women’s Singles Commonwealth competition with a convincing 3-0 win against Sri Lanka’s Yeheni Kuruppu before repeating the score line with in the round of 16 against Canada’s Nicole Bunyan, the quarter-finals saw a truly dominant performance from Gina as she defeated Malaysia’s Rachel Arnold in straight sets in just 13 minutes of match time. Carrying confidence from this feat, Gina took on teammate Sarah-Jane Perry for a place in the Women’s Singles final. After a gripping encounter that saw Gina dig deep for the first time in the tournament, the sport scholar claimed a 3-1 win to secure her position as a finalist against Canada’s Hollie Naughton. With anticipation high, Gina continued her momentum into the final and opened up a commanding two set lead. Looking to wrap up a monumental title Gina came ever so close to taking all three sets to be crowned champion, but Naughton pushed the match into a fourth set with a 14-12 third set win. However, Kennedy would not be denied and brushed off the small setback to dominate the fourth set 11-5 and claim a magnificent Commonwealth gold! The Commonwealth title marks a whirlwind year for the sport scholar who has impressively risen up the world rankings into the top ten - congratulations Gina!

Accompanying her success in the singles, Gina entered both the Mixed and Women’s Doubles competition with team mates Patrick Rooney and Lucy Turmel respectively. The pairs carried the strong Team England form into the early stages of the competition winning their first matches. However Kennedy and Rooney would bow out at the round of 16, whilst the Women’s Doubles saw Gina and Lucy go one better before exiting in the quarter finals.


Faiza Zafar – Plate Finalist

Entering the Women’s Singles competition at the round of 32, Faiza came up short in a losing effort against Malaysia’s Yiwen Chan. This saw Faiza entered into the plate competition where the Pakistani sport scholar won her round of 16 tie 3-0 and her subsequent quarter-final saw an epic five game win for Faiza setting up a semi-final showdown against India’s Kuruvilla. Perhaps still recovering from her previous win, Faiza came up short and exited the competition at this stage. Alongside the singles, Faiza entered the Mixed Doubles and Women’s Doubles with Pakistan team mates Nasir Iqbal and Amna Fayyaz. Despite losing in the Round of 16 in both competitions, Zafar and Fayyaz once again continued in the plate competition where they saw off Sri Lanka and Canada to reach the final against Australia on 8 August. The final though would prove to be one match too far for Faiza and Amna as they went on to lose 2-0.


Men’s Squash

Declan James – Men’s Doubles Gold Medal

Declan James is similar to Emily Campbell in that he is not an alumni but has a strong connection to University of Nottingham Sport, regularly representing our Premier Squash League team over many years. Entering the Men’s Doubles with team mate James Willstrop, the pair blitzed through the opening rounds 2-0 to reach the semi-finals. Here they would face a strong Malaysian pair who took the first game of the match. However James and Willstrop would not be denied in front of their home crowd and roared back to win 2-1 and book a place in the final against Team England team mates Daryl Selby and Adrian Waller. In what was the final match of the whole squash competition at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, Declan and James claimed a close 2-1 win to be crowned Commonwealth champions – congratulations Declan!


Women’s Judo

Amy Platten – Bronze Medal (Women’s 48kg)

In the opening day of the Judo competition on August 1, recently graduated student Amy Platten took to the mat for her quarter-final against Katryna Esposito of Malta. Platten claimed a convincing win to move into the semi-finals where she would face South Africa’s Michaela Whitebooi for a chance at a gold medal. Unfortunately the match did not quite go the way of Platten with Whitebooi moving into the final, and Amy needing to refocus for the bronze medal match later in the same evening. However, taking on Harriet Bonface of Malawi, Amy showed no signs of nerves and eliminated all doubt from her previous loss by flying straight out of the blocks to claim a fantastic bronze in just 15 seconds - congratulations Amy!


Men’s Hockey

Tom Sorsby – Bronze Medal

Former University of Nottingham BUCS Big Wednesday champion Tom Sorsby saw his Team England in Pool B alongside Ghana, Wales, India and Canada, which provided some great early matches. Opening with a 6-0 win against Ghana, Team England beat their home nation rivals Wales 4-2 to put themselves in a great position in the group. Their third game saw a superb comeback as they pulled themselves to a 4-4 draw having been 3 goals down twice during the match. The semi-finals landed England against a tough Australia side but Tom and the men beside him gave a great account of themselves before narrowly missing out on the final 3-2. This put the team into the Bronze medal match where they would face South Africa on the final day of Commonwealth competition. An even first half ended 3-3, but it would be Tom and Team England who would dominate the second by scoring 3 unanswered goals to claim the bronze medals with a 6-3 win - congratulations Tom!


Women’s Para Cycling

Sophie Unwin – Silver Medal (Women’s Tandem B - 1,000m Time Trial)

Alumna Sophie Unwin entered two of the tandem cycling events at these games following her brilliant success at the Tokyo Olympics last summer. The first of these was the Women’s Tandem B Track event that saw her finish third in qualifying setting up a semi-final against Scotland’s Aileen McGlynn. After losing the first race, Sophie showed great resilience to fight back to a 2-1 win and a place in the Bronze medal race. Facing Scotland’s Libby Clegg, Sophie claimed both races to win 2-0 and what seemed to be a Commonwealth Bronze. However, a policy - which was published in January this year - meant that only gold and silver medals were awarded as there were no more than four contestants.

Sophie and her pilot Georgia Holt had to quickly put this large disappointment to the back of their minds as they focussed on their entry two days later in the Tandem B Time Trial. This time the University of Nottingham alumna was not to be denied, claiming a brilliant silver medal that Sophie said “meant so much” following the earlier controversy.   


Women’s Weight Lifting

Emily Campbell – Commonwealth Champion | Gold Medal in the Women’s 87+kg

Despite not being a former student, Team England Weight Lifter Emily Campbell has a strong affinity to University of Nottingham Sport having worked in our Sports Injury Clinic. The Nottingham born athlete is based in the city and regularly trains at David Ross Sports Village with her England and British Weight Lifting team mates. Stepping onto the Commonwealth stage as one of the favourites in the Women’s 87+ category, Emily was never really troubled lifting a new personal best and Games record of 124kg in the snatch, and eclipsed her total score from the Tokyo Olympics by three kilograms to claim a magnificent gold in front of a rapturous home crowd. Congratulations Emily!


Women’s Table Tennis

Tin-Tin Ho and Maria Tsaptsinos

The Commonwealth Table Tennis competition opened with the Team Events with alumna Maria Tsaptsinos and current scholar Tin-Tin Ho representing Team England in the Women’s event. Opening their group matches with a loss to Singapore, the team bounced back to win their next game against St Vincent and the Grenadines, setting up a crucial clash with Nigeria. A nail-biting 3-2 win saw huge emotions from our athletes and set-up a quarter-final clash with Wales. Ultimately, the home nations fixture would see Wales progress to the semis with a 3-0 win.

The singles and doubles competitions followed in the ensuing days with Maria entering the singles competition at the group stage. Despite winning one of her two matches, Maria did not progress out of the group. Tin-Tin Ho received a bye into the round of 32 and progressed nicely through to the round of 16. However, facing a tough Australian competitor in Yangzi Ly, Tin-Tin unfortunately came up short at this stage.

Pairing together in the Women’s Doubles, Tin-Tin and Maria also reached the round of 16 after a walkover win in the round of 32. The lack of competitive time together in the competition may have been their undoing as the pair lost to Australia.

In the Mixed Doubles Maria partnered with Team England’s Sam Walker, whilst Tin-Tin teamed up with Liam Pitchford. Both would lose extremely close matches 3-2 to be knocked out of the competition – these being at the round of 64 for Maria, and the quarter-finals for Tin-Tin.


Men’s Table Tennis

Paul McCreery – Group Stage

Group 3 of the Team Event saw alumnus and Northern Ireland athlete Paul McCreery take on India, Barbados and Singapore. Despite prevailing 3-0 against Barbados, the Northern Ireland team could not overcome strong India and Singapore squads resulting in them exiting the competition at the group stage.


Men’s Rugby Sevens

Jamie Barden – 9th place

University of Nottingham Rugby Union Club’s Jamie Barden and his Team England team mates faced a tough pool as they matched up with Samoa, New Zealand and Sri Lanka. Following an opening defeat to eventual champions Samoa, the Sevens squad beat Sri Lanka 47-19 before closing the pool with a loss to New Zealand. Following the pool stage, Team England took on Jamaica, winning convincingly to then take on home nation rival Wales. A close 14-10 victory saw Jamie and England move into the 9th place play-off which they would eventually win 31-17.


Men’s Para Triathlon

Charlie Harding – 5th place

As a guide runner for his Team England team mate Oscar Kelly, Charlie put in a very good performance in the Men’s Para PTVI Triathlon on the 31 July. However, during the bike leg of the race Charlie and Oscar suffered great misfortune as their chain snapped causing a large delay to their time. Without this, their performance would have surely seen them place within the medal positions as they finished just one minute behind third place, with a final placing of fifth.


Men’s Gymnastics

Frank Baines – 5th place in Men’s Team Event

Alongside his fellow Team Scotland gymnasts, current University of Nottingham BUCS champion Frank Baines finished fifth in the Men’s Team event, and then seventh in the Men’s Individual All-Around event. Moving into the individual disciplines, Frank entered the Floor and Horizontal Bar events finishing in sixth and eighth place respectively. After coming out of international retirement for these games, Frank more than likely retire from international competition and focus on his studies at the University of Nottingham.


Women’s 1500m

Katie Snowden – 7th Place

University of Nottingham alumna Katie Snowden entered the Women’s 1500m and took to the track in her heat on Friday 5 August. A comfortable run and second place finish saw Katie through to the final which would take place at the Alexander Stadium on the evening of Sunday 7. In front of a packed out crowd, Katie’s efforts in the final saw her place 7th with a time of 4:07.15.


Speaking on the successes for University of Nottingham athletes over the past 10 days, University of Nottingham Sport Performance Director and 2002 Commonwealth Table Tennis champion Alex Perry said; “These Commonwealth Games have been fantastic to watch and will prove to be very memorable for many of us here at University of Nottingham Sport. We are extremely proud of the remarkable medal successes for scholars Gina Kennedy and Amy Platten only goes to further highlight the incredible commitment of our dual-career athletes, with both celebrating their graduation from the university this summer alongside their preparations for the games. On behalf of the wider department I would like to congratulate every athlete with University of Nottingham connections who competed in Birmingham on their performances, and look forward to celebrating their success when they next return to the university.”

These Commonwealth Games held in Birmingham have been a fantastic spectacle and one that has also seen a brilliant performance by Team England who secured 176 medals including 57 golds, 66 silvers and 53 bronze medals - finishing second in the overall medal table.

Congratulations to all those associated with University of Nottingham Sport who took part in one of the largest multi-sport championships in the world.

2022 Commonwealth Games - Athletics - Katie Snowden

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Posted on Monday 8th August 2022

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