first_imgAt the start of each year, Blues’ Captains pray, cross their fingers, throw salt over their shoulders, and generally try anything they can think of to tempt the fates to provide that most prized of posessions – a talented crop of freshers. This year, it seems Athletics President Nick Redford and Women’s Captain Martine Bomb have struck gold. The sheer numbers at the Athletics Cuppers bode well for Oxford, competing at events from the 2000m steeplechase to the javelin. A special mention has to go to Trinity College, who won a resounding number of points with an outstanding output of athletes. The men’s events saw a number of potential stars emerge. Mark Dewhirst dominated the long distance events, placing first in the 3000m and the 2000m steeplechase with ease. danny Eckersley ruled the hurdles, winning both the 100m and the 400m, while Mark Ponsford of Hertford took the prestigious 100m sprint title and came second in the 200m. In the field, two performances really stood out in the shot-put and long jump, respectively by Sean Gourley of Balliol and Tom Brown of Linacre. The women’s times on the track more than overlapped the men’s, showing a depth that is encouraging even at this off-season time when many girls are focused on cross-country. It was inspiring to see so many ‘track-fairies’ burning their fast-twitch muscles at the distance events, and likewise with those muscle-bound distance runners heaving the shot-put (admittedly no higher than their waists). Antonella Banslky’s 3.52m shot-put would have earned her 18th position in the men’s – as it turns out, neither last nor least! Above all the atmosphere, despite the weather at present being better suited to mud-plastering runs through the countryside, was energised and supportive of all those who took part. The number of teams who entered showed a spark of sporting pride from all quarters of the University, which will hopefully continue the trend well into the year. Not only were the larger sporting colleges out in force, but appearances from Harris Manchester, Linacre, Somerville, Wycliffe and St Hugh’s made for unexpected wins and tense competition. With Cuppers placed strategically now at the start of Michaelmas, one can only expect numbers to rise towards summer as bared legs actually become comfortable in the hot weather; unfortunately for some, bravery (or masochism?) in the shorts department went unrewarded. One certainly hopes that Cambridge had their spies out – perhaps their pastel-green athletics vests will be all the paler at Varsity having seen our dark-blue warriors do battle. Shoe!ARCHIVE: 3rd week MT 2005last_img