BOURNEMOUTH athlete Matthew Ridge surprised himself in securing bronze at BUCS Nationals.

The 21-year-old shot putter overcame a difficult start to throw his way onto the podium, registering 14.14 metres in Sheffield.

It may have been more than 1.5m shy of Kai Jones’s winning effort but that did not detract from the Dorset ace's delight.

Ridge said: “This is my first indoor BUCS and I don’t usually compete well in events such as this, so I’m pretty happy.

“Until the first day here I hadn’t thrown more than 14 metres so I was very surprised with what came up. I didn’t expect to medal so to deliver a performance like that really is quite nice.

“In my training leading up to BUCS I was beginning to put everything together, I was working on my speed in the circle having been quite slow in previous competitions.

“Coming out for the final, I worked on that although I had to take it easy on the third throw because of fouling the first two, which disrupted things a bit.

“But after that I went for farther distances and it worked out well.”

A politics and international relations student at Loughborough University, Ridge knows he cannot afford to rest on his laurels.

He said: “My next big competition will be BUCS outdoors in May. My aim for this season is to throw more than 15m and, hopefully, to win a medal at the British Under-23 Championship in June.

“I threw 14.76m and 15m in training and my aim is to be consistent so I can throwing more than 15m in every competition.

“BUCS has been really good this year. I was really happy we got brought out into the centre of the track because you want to be in front of the crowd.

“For the heats we were hidden away but this is a great venue to have so it’s terrific to be able to make the most of it at the English Institute of Sport.”

BUCS Nationals powered by Muhdo is the largest annual multi-sport event in the UK, bringing the best of Britain’s university athletes together to compete across eight different sports in Sheffield. More info at and via #BUCSNationals.