Department of Sport

University of Nottingham students and alumni contribute to Commonwealth Games medal haul


Bronze medallists James Gall, George Pinner and Harry Martin (L-R)

University of Nottingham students past and present will be heading back home from the Gold Coast of Australia this week and with 11 medals from a possible 15, the 2018 Gold Coast XXI Commonwealth Games have proven to be a huge success for those associated with UoN Sport.

Current students and alumni were joined by staff and associates of the University of Nottingham including Premier Squash League’s Nick Matthew, Declan James, Lewis Walters and former National Badminton League players Chris Adcock and Jessica Pugh. 

The standout achievement for current geography student Maria Tsaptsinos and UoN Sport Table Tennis Head Coach Kelly Sibley in the Team Table Tennis event, marked the first Table Tennis medal of the games and crowned another incredible year for University of Nottingham Table Tennis.

Meanwhile, the Men’s and Women’s hockey teams both beat India in bronze medal matches to ensure alumni George Pinner, James Gall, Harry Martin and Joanne Hunter  all made the podium for Team England. 

We have rounded up all the action from the Gold Coast in a handy guide below. 

Women’s Table Tennis 

Maria Tsaptsinos & Kelly Sibley - Bronze Medal

After comfortably beating Guyana and Vanuatu in straight sets in pool matches, Tsaptsinos and Sibley made their partnership count in the Quarter Finals of the Women’s team event when they paired up to win a clutch doubles match against Canada to land a place in the final four. 

However, it was in the semi-finals where they unfortunately met their match, losing in straight sets against a strong India team, who eventually went on to win the gold medal.

Team England were then drawn against home crowd favourites Australia in the bronze medal match after the hosts failed to win a single game in their semi-final against Singapore. 

Tin-Tin Ho got England off to a dream start, beating Melissa Tapper in the opening singles match, however Jian Fang Lay eased past Sibley in the next match to level it at 1-1. 

It was then crucial for Sibley and Commonwealth debutant Tsaptsinos to win the doubles game – and they certainly pulled out all the stops. The Nottingham based pairing then kept their focus to win their game 3-1 to swing the tie firmly in Team England’s favour. 

Tin-Tin Ho wrapped up the 3-1 victory at the Oxenford Studios by winning her singles match 3-2 in a 5 game thriller and when Australia’s Miao Miao failed to beat the net with her final serve, Team England had won a well-deserved Bronze medal.

Men’s Hockey

George Pinner, James Gall, Harry Martin - Bronze Medal

Three of University of Nottingham’s Hockey Alumni were in the England squad that took home a bronze medal for Team England but will feel unfortunate to not have been in running for gold or silver.

Team England's men opened up their Commonwealth Games campaign with a comprehensive 7-0 win over Malaysia with Harry Martin getting on the score sheet. A flowing team move saw Barry Middleton release Ward and his cross was met by a diving Martin who deflected high into the net. 

Having topped Pool A, England faced hosts Australia in the semi-finals and fell behind early on to Trent Mitton’s goal. Despite equalising and level things up just after the break, Mitton was on hand to restore the advantage in the final quarter to end hopes of a gold or silver medal. 

Having only lost in the semi-final 20 hours earlier, the players managed to compose themselves, holding off India 2-1 in the bronze medal match to secure a well-deserved and hard fought place on the podium.

Women’s Hockey 

Jo Hunter - Bronze Medal 

University of Nottingham Alumni, Jo Hunter was a late entry to the Women’s Hockey squad following a spate of injuries to the squad weeks away from the opening match.  The experienced international was named in the starting lineup as the Three lions got their Commonwealth games underway on with a comfortable 2-0 victory over South Africa in their first match of Pool A. 

England’s next opponents were Wales - who stunned India in the tournament’s opening game with a 3-2 win and Hunter was instrumental in the second goal, finding herself surrounded by four players in midfield she wriggled her way out find Sophie Bray who found Susannah Townsend in the circle to smash the ball home and stretch the lead. England then cruised to a 5-1 victory with 5 different scorers to top their group on a rainy evening in Brisbane. 

Heartbreak was to follow in the semi-finals as New Zealand progressed to the gold medal game after winning a dramatic penalty shootout and the team had to settle for a place in the bronze medal match. The outcome was the reverse of the 2014 semi-final in Glasgow, which England won on a shootout before taking silver. 

The Women’s team recorded an empathic 6-0 victory over India in the bronze medal match to maintain Team England’s record of winning a hockey medal at every games since the sports’ introduction in 1998. 

Men's Squash 

Nick Matthew - Quarter-Final 

Sadly this wasn’t to be the fairy-tale send-off that Nick Matthew had hoped for. After an illustrious career in the game, the former World number one had already stated that this games would be his last and it was a strong start to the competition with the top seed having a pretty straight forward route to the last 16 of the Men’s singles after receiving a bye in the first round. His first test came against Uganda’s Ian Rukunya which he won in straight sets and was followed by 3-1  (11-6, 8-11, 11-6, 11-6) victory against  Vikram Malhotra which saw Matthew progress to the last 8. Unfortunately, Matthews hopes of bowing out with a Gold medal were to end at the hands of 12th seed, Nafiizwan Adnan of Malaysia who recorded a maiden victory over the University of Nottingham PSL captain (11-7, 6-11, 12-10, 4-11, 11-6).

Declan James - Bronze medal

Declan James teamed up with singles gold medallist James Willstrop in men’s doubles format. 

The pairing found their rhythm early on in the tournament and having won their early matches against Hindle/Zammit-Lewis (Malta) and Malhotra/Tandon (India) they set up an all-England semi-final against Daryl Selby and Adrian Waller.

 The gruelling and entertaining match looked to have been sewn up by James/Willstrop but in a remarkable turn of events, Selby/Waller managed to save numerous match points to go onto record an 11-9, 9-11, 11-10 victory at the death. 

The pair bounced back from the heart-breaking  semi-final defeat to see off Scottish pair Alan Clyne and Greg Lobban 11-9, 11-9 to win the bronze medal for Team England.

Lewis Walters - Last 16

 University of Nottingham PSL player Lewis Walters served up a first round shock as he beat Peter Creed, the 15th seed from Wales, ranked over 200 places higher than him in the world (7-11-11-7,11-6,11-9). He was eventually knocked out in the last 16 by Australia Cameron Pilley in straight sets with the Australian going on to lose to eventual gold medallist James Willstop in the Quarter Finals. 


Katie Snowden - 11th Place 

A Commonwealth Games appearance for alumni Katie Snowden was another fantastic achievement in a stellar year for the 1500m runner which has seen her win her first senior championship medal.

After a strong run in her qualifying heat for the final, Snowden ran a second shy of her personal best on a rain soaked track in a packed  Carrara Stadium finishing 11th. The final was won by controversial South African athlete, Caster Semenya, in a Commonwealth Games record time of 4:00.71.


Dr Rachel Parish - 6th Place

Dr Rachel Parish finished 6th place in the double trap after posting up a score of 84 across 4 rounds in an event won by India’s Shreyasi Singh. Parish was to make her third and final appearance at the Games in a wonderful career which has seen her win 3 Commonwealth Medals having previously won gold and silver in Melbourne in 2006 and a Bronze in Glasgow in 2014. 


 Emily Campbell – Bronze Medal

Emily Campbell claimed bronze in her first Commonwealth games following a return from Injury. Nottingham based Campbell used the Sports Injury Clinic at David Ross Sports Village in preparation for the Games following a serious MCL injury ahead of the European Championships last year. 

Campbell competed in the +90kg catergory and was only 1kg shy of Charisma Amoe-Tarrant in the silver medal position in an event which saw favourite Laurel Hubbard withdraw due to injury in the earlier rounds. 

Final Result: Snatch (103kg), Clean & Jerk (139kg), Total (242kg) 

Laura Hewitt - 4th Place

 Laura Hewitt, who also used the Sports Injury Clinic at David Ross Sport Village in preparation for the Games, finished just outside of the medals in 4th place in the Women’s 58kg which was won by home crowd favourite Australia Tia-Claire Toomey. Hewitt equalled Solomon Island Bronze medallist Jenly Wini in the snatch with 84kg but her clean and jerk of 98kg wasn’t enough to take the medal, missing out by just 7kg on a commonwealth podium.

Final Result: Snatch (84kg), Clean & Jerk (98kg), Total (182kg)


 Chris Adcock & Jess Pugh - Mixed Team Event - Bronze Medal

Event – Mixed Team Event

For the former University Nottingham Natioanl Badminton League captain this was Adcock’s third Commonwealth Games and by contrast for Jessica Pugh it was her first. Speaking ahead of the games she said, “It’s amazing, it’s every young athletes dream and goal to represent your country at a multi-sport games.” 

Team England flew threw the groups stages of the mixed team event without losing a game  and landed a spot in the semi-final after beating Canada 3-0. Only Malaysia stopped they progress in the semi-final but they recovered well to add a team bronze to their tally after beating Singapore in straight sets. 

Mixed Team Event Results
W 5-0 vs South Africa (Group C)

W 5-0 vs Australia (Group C)

W 3-0 vs Canada (Quarter-Final)

L   0-3 vs Malaysia (Semi-Final)

W 3-0 vs Singapore (Bronze Medal Match)

Jessica Pugh & Ben Lane - Mixed Doubles - Final 32

Pugh and Lane lost their opening final 32 fixture in straight sets to India’s Satwik Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa (21-17,21-16). The Indian pairing went agonisingly close to making the podium after losing out to Malaysia in the bronze medal match. 

Chris & Gabby Adcock - Mixed Doubles - Gold Medal 

Having won two medals at Glasgow and already holding bronze medal from the mixed team event Adcock was looking to earn a 5th medal from the games in the mixed doubles alongside his wife Gabby.

The pairing beat team-mates Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smit in all-England final 19-21 21-17 21-16 to retain their Commonwealth Games mixed doubles badminton title. 

Mixed Doubles Results
W 2-0 vs Canada (Yang/ Li)  Final 32

W 2-0 vs Singapore (Wong/Ong) Last 16

W 2-0 vs Australia (Serasinghe/Setyanna) Quarterfinal

W 2-0 vs Malaysia (Chan/Goh) Semi-final

 W 2-1 vs England (Ellis/Smith) Gold Medal Match  

The Gold Coast of Australia played host to a wonderful Commonwealth Games and it was a brilliant performance by Team England who secured 136 medals including 45 golds, 45 silvers and 46 bronze medals.

Congratulations to all those associated with Univesity of Nottingham Sport who medalled and took part in one of the largest multi-sport championships in the World.

For more information about Performance sport at the University of Nottingham click here.

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Posted on Monday 16th April 2018

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