Warwick University took home the gold at an archery tournament in Sheffield this weekend after the event was saved from cancellation at the last minute.

With the British University Team Championships (BUTC) seemingly destined to not go ahead, The University of Sheffield stepped in to host the tournament for the first time in the competition’s history.

Jack was proud of the team at his last BUTC. Credit: Tom Burton

Jack Wells, 27, Competition Leader for Sheffield Archery and a PhD student, said: “We swooped in with an offer of a venue a little bit last minute, and a bit unconventional to how the event has been hosted previously, but we seemed to have pulled it off successfully. 

“We’ve proved we can run this event with a smaller venue, which will give more options for hosting in the future.”

Sheffield were unable to reach the final, which proved to be a hard-fought battle between Warwick and Lancaster, with the former winning the top prize for the second time in the last three years.

Wills Chiu, 21, the winning captain and Economics student, said: “It was great. It’s my third time doing this. We won the first year and last year we got close, but we’ve come back this year feeling strong. 

“I’m glad it’s done and now we’re off to moving outdoors as the indoor season is finished and I’m looking forward to that, but today feels amazing.”

In attendance was Ian McGibbon, one of the founders of BUTC and a former archer who represented Northern Ireland at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, and he has watched the competition grow from its first tournament in 2003.

He said: “I think the biggest change we’ve seen over the 20 years is the level of professionalism from the archers. When we first did this a lot of people had never seen it before, they’d never seen the format, they had no experience.

Ian McGibbon has been with the tournament since it began in 2003. Credit: Ian McGibbon

“We’ve done things with the event that the wider tournament circle do all the time, but when we did it, it was a first, so we’ve really seen it mature and develop over the years. The archers and the students particularly have grown with it, so it’s great to see that people have progressed along with the event.”

After the medals were distributed and the targets were taken down, Ian confirmed it would be his last event and the arrow would be passed on to someone else in the future, but he gave some advice for any future archers.

He said: “Archery is a sport that really is accessible to all, you can do whether you’re tall or short, whether you’re in a wheelchair, whether you have different abilities. Everybody can do archery, but to get good at it takes persistence and practice, and really perseverance. 

“So I would say to anybody starting out, whether they’re in first year, or a novice, or whatever they are, just keep trying, keep practising, and it can take a bit of time to come but it’s worth it when it does, and to shoot in something like this is a lot of fun.”

Now the indoor season draws to an end and the archers look to move outdoors, Sheffield has saved the tournament from the brink and will look to host future competitions again.