Over 100 students from Northern Ireland are in Edinburgh this week competing in the 2010 British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Home Nations Championship.
More than half of the 112 sports stars are from the University of Ulster with 57 representatives, 51 are from QUB and a further four from Stranmillis University College.
The Northern Ireland Universities team competes against their counterparts from England, Scotland and Wales in netball, football, hockey, basketball and rugby.
The biennial competition, which will reach its climax on Thursday 15 April, got off to a great start for the Ulster students, with the women’s hockey team beating England 4-1 in today’s opening day of competition.
The men went on to emulate their success with an impressive 7-2 win over Scotland. Success also followed in men’s basketball as they beat Scotland 91-74, while Northern Ireland’s netballers beat Wales 60-39.
The Northern Ireland Universities are this year backed by Stena Line. Dermot Cairns, Stena Line’s Head of Travel on the Irish Sea, said:
“Thousands of students from Northern Ireland travel on our ferries each year and we are always happy to support students in whatever way we can, whether through special deals or discounts, because we know they often face tough financial constraints. This sponsorship deal is our way of offering further support to students.”
University of Ulster graduate, and key Ulster Elks Hockey player, Alice Gerrard is the Northern Ireland Universities assistant team manager and Ulster also has Dr Deirdre Brennan, from Ulster’s School of Sports Studies, has head coach of the men’s basketball squad. While Ulster graduates Elaine Rice and Noleen Lennon, who is a Northern Ireland senior international netballer, are coaching the netball team.
At the competition, the students will have access to some of the top facilities in the UK, playing at the National Hockey Academy at Peffermill and Heart of Midlothian FC Academy facilities at Riccarton.
For further information about the 2010 Home Nations Championships visit www.bucs.org.uk/homenations