Heather Goodman has bagged a medal at the last four British Universities and Colleges Sport Nationals but the Grantham judoka insists she feels no pressure as she looks to repeat last year’s gold success in Sheffield this weekend.
The 23-year-old Vale Judo member has been on the podium at every BUCS Nationals apart from her debut year in 2011, with two bronzes and a silver preceding her victory last time out.
But Goodman’s education has taken priority in recent times, with the former Kesteven and Grantham Girls’ School pupil now studying for a PHD in plant sciences at Durham University, having secured a biology degree at University of Leeds.
It means the BUCS Nationals, which begin in Sheffield today (Friday), will be the highlight of her sporting calendar, but Heather insists she will arrive pressure-free when she competes at the new weight of under-57kg, having previously taking part at under-63kg and under-70kg.
Heather said: “Because of my PHD, I do not get to go to as many competitions as I used to, so BUCS is the main one that I work towards.
“I don’t feel like there is any pressure on me because since the start of university [in the summer], I have been focusing on my studies.
“I am looking at the BUCS Nationals more as a break for me from my studies, so I have no pressure on me. My mum and dad come to watch and it is more like the good old days when they would come to my competitions.
“Because I do not feel any pressure, that is probably why I have performed my best and medalled more because I have approached it care-free.
“The standard at BUCS is very high but it is a lot more friendly than other competitions – when I used to compete at British events I remember being petrified because all of the big names would be there and I wouldn’t do too well because I was petrified.”
BUCS Nationals is the UK’s largest annual multi-sport event as athletes at universities across the country compete in a host of different sports, and Heather will be joined in Sheffield by the likes of London 2012 Olympian Aimee Willmott and Commonwealth bronze medallist Bianca Williams.
BUCS is the national governing body for Higher Education (HE) sport in the UK, representing more than 150 institutions. Covering 52 sports, BUCS aids grass roots participation through to supporting aspiring elite athletes en route to Commonwealth or Olympic Games. Visit www.bucs.org.uk