Congratulations to Kent Sport Scholar Lara Stembridge who successfully defended her BUCS Gymnastics title despite the uncertainty that COVID disruption has caused the sport over the last few years.
Lara faced many challenges in continuing to train and keep herself fit during the pandemic most notably in lack of specific equipment such as bars and beams – She even took to training solo via ZOOM sessions. This determination and resilience ensured she was in good shape when clubs began to open their doors and restrictions eased. As such Lara was ready to defend her title from two years previous. However, limited competitive practice, competitors eager to provide stern resistance, and a change in the warm-up format all provided increased pressure. Lara’s family members, friends and fans were keen to support the sport of Gymnastics and came out in force to cheer the athletes on.
Lara had a positive start on the Vault, and this calmed the nerves and set her up for a great competition. Next was the bars and despite the unusual warm up format Lara performed to the best of her ability and even scored a new personal best (can’t ask for more than that). The final piece was Lara’s favourite – the floor, and an opportunity to perform with all the passion the pandemic had not allowed. Lara finished her routine in first place overall but no celebrating just yet as another round of 15 gymnasts were still to compete from the likes of Loughborough and Cardiff Met.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, the round ended, and it was time for the results. Lara had defended the overall BUCS title coming first out of 69 competitors, also achieving 3rd place on bars and 2nd place on floor.
Lara tells us “I am proud to have been able to achieve this title whilst balancing my placement, studies, a part time job and gymnastics training and looking forward to future opportunities to represent the University of Kent to the best of my ability.”
Congratulations to Lara on her recent victory!
If you’re interested in becoming a sports scholar at the University of Kent, check out our Scholarship webpages for more information.