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Leeds Trinity University student’s Olympic ambition after achieving personal best at national competition

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Leeds Trinity University athlete, Hakan Dalbal, recently achieved a bronze medal and reached a personal best at the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Nationals competition.

Three male athletes stand on podium.

Hakan, who studies Sports Psychology, came third in the 400m race and ran a personal best of 48.25 seconds at the BUCS Nationals on Sunday 20 February. 

The 21-year-old is now concentrating on having a strong upcoming season to secure a place and finish on the podiums at the British and English Athletics Championships in 2023 – in-turn boosting his hopes to compete at the Olympics in Paris in 2024.

The BUCS Nationals is an annual competition which sees 4,000 of the most talented athletes from universities and colleges across the country competing.

The three-day event brings together five individual BUCS Championship events – athletics, badminton, climbing, fencing, and swimming – which take place at three different venues. This year’s athletics competition was held at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield.

Hakan has been running competitively since he was 14, specialising in the 400m discipline over the last four years. He recently joined the City of Sheffield and Dearne Athletics club, and also competes in 200m, 600m and 800m to improve his running. He currently trains four times a week on the track and twice a week in the gym.

Hakan said: “I was delighted to represent Leeds Trinity University at the recent BUCS Nationals and to achieve both a personal best and bronze medal at the same time was a very proud moment.

“I am keen to continue pushing myself this coming season, to stay fit and healthy and run as fast I can so that I can give myself the best chance to secure a place at the British and English Championships next year and get a medal.

“This will set a benchmark to hopefully get my name out there and push for an Olympic spot in 2024 in Paris, which I think is within reason as long as the next two years go to plan.”

Sarah Todd, Sports Development Manager at Leeds Trinity University, said: “I am really proud of Hakan’s results at BUCS Nationals. It is always exciting for me to be able to watch our athletes compete after working with them on the Talented Athlete Support Package (TASP).

“I watched the race live via the BUCS YouTube channel on the Sunday, and the coverage was brilliant. It was such a great moment to watch a Leeds Trinity student not only compete, but medal at a final.

“The pandemic has meant that Hakan has missed out on competing at BUCS for two out of the three years of his degree, so to get such an excellent result in his first and final BUCS Nationals is great for him, he should be really proud of himself.”

Hakan is part of the Talented Athlete Support Package at Leeds Trinity which offers additional support to athletes competing at a high level in their sport to manage their studies and their sports careers.