Every four years the world of sport and fans in general, look on with astonishment and expectation the largest international sporting event which is considered one of the most important moments of union of humanity: the Olympics Games. Each year the University of Nottingham celebrates an event of lower global impact than the Olympics but no less important, since it represents the celebration of the friendship between the younger generations of athletes: the “Tri Campus Games”.
Held every year in one of the three campuses of the University of Nottingham (United Kingdom, China and Malaysia), the “Tri Campus Games” are formed by a group of top athletes from every country who face each other to achieve the desired trophy. During this period, players come from all over the world representing their campus in many sports such as badminton, basketball, football, squash, table tennis, tennis, ultimate frisbee and volleyball, both male and female.
This year the chosen venue was the University of Nottingham in England, therefore all the representatives of China and Malaysia had to move to UK, what a problem! Travel and accommodation all included, FREE, where do I sign? 😉
As a basketball player, I was fortunate to be selected to represent Malaysia campus what it would mean my second appearance in the “Tri Campus Games”, since last year I represented the British team in the event disputed in China. Undoubtedly, this was an excellent opportunity to meet up again with all the great friends I left in England.
Nottingham is a city in the ceremonial county of Nottinghamshire in the East Midlands of England situated 30 miles (48 km) south of Sheffield and 30 miles (48 km) north of Leicester. Nottingham is known for its famous inhabitant Robin Hood and his football team, the Nottingham Forest, who got to be champion of the European Cup in two consecutive seasons in the 78-79 and the 79-80. Nottingham is also famous for having in their domains the Wollaton Hall, also known as Batman’s house. However, what few people know is that this town hosts and gives its name to one of the world’s best universities, the University of Nottingham.
Departing from Kuala Lumpur and stopping in Abu Dhabi, the Malaysian expedition were heading to Heathrow Airport in London. After more than 14 hours of flight and 3 hour bus ride, we finally arrived at our destination, Nottingham.
Upon our arrival, the welcoming messages and welcoming posters made us feel like true professionals and superstars.
From the outset, all the activities organized were a success. Within a few hours and having fun, we got to meet a lot of new people. As shown in the video, all were laughter and great moments.
However, the moment of truth had not yet begun. And so, after the activities, the opening ceremony started. Last year China set the bar high with fireworks and dancing dragons, so we were all expectant about what Nottingham had prepared. This time, everything was prepared following the “British style”. At the gates of our hall there were two red double-decker London buses waiting for us to move. After a mini-guided tour around University Park we reached to the main building of the university, Trent Building . Once there, a beautiful pair of fire-eaters and a guy jumping on stilts greeted us at the entrance of the building.
Once inside we could enjoy many sweet snacks and beverages as well as magicians, and artists performances as well as a band hired to entertain all our evening. After this and many photographs, the opening ceremony began and the seventh “Tri Campus Games” were initiated.
Throughout the week of competition, the amount of matches and adrenaline was incalculable. From early morning until late at night you could enjoy pure sport in any part of the campus. However, the university organized a trip to the beautiful city of York on our day off so we could disconnect a bit from the tournament.
This town preserves countless amount of buildings of the Roman and Viking times. This is because York was converted by the Romans in one of the capitals of Britain, happening to be taken later by the Vikings in 866, who gave it the name of Jorvic. Wander through its narrow streets and green parks is a real treat. Also highlight the free wifi throughout the city.
After this small break, the tournament was about to enter its final stretch with an overall classification tighter than ever. However, to know the final result, we had to wait for the closing ceremony and the awards ceremony. It was here at the close ceremony when I had one of the greatest joys in my life. While Steve Farey (tournament director) was announcing the winner of the “Male Spirit Award”, I was realising me that the description of the winner matched quite well with me. But it was not until Steve said: “And the winner is: Germán!” When I realized that it was really me. Undoubtedly, that moment and the award are two things I will always keep in my memory.
However, the final result of the competition and therefore the most important thing, had not yet been announced. More than 180 athletes coming from different countries of the world with the same goal, gathered in a room looking forward to know the name of winner. An atmosphere that one could cut with a knife. After a few minutes, Steve was once again the bearer of the news: the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus was the winner! After 6 consecutive years of British rule and for the first time in history, the campus in Malaysia rose to cup winners. An unbeatable ending for an unbeatable week.
Finally, I would like to thank everyone involved in the “Tri Campus Games” because without their help and cooperation, none of this would have been possible. Thanks to the University of Nottingham for its actively promoting of the sport and friendship with its motto “Friendship through Sport”. Thanks Steve Farey, Glynn Dignum, Phil Wood, Krista van Alten and the entire medical staff. Thanks Maheswaran Anand and Intan Liyana for taking care of us. Thanks Patricio, Shia, Di, Samir, Steve, Rokas, James Boyes, Belal, James Wilson, Patrick, Jeff and Domi for reminding me so good moments spending in Nottingham. Thanks to all the team of the United Kingdom and China. And of course, I have to thank all my colleagues of Malaysia Campus but especially my basketball teammates: Mostafa Emara, Jerome, Kingsley, Lawrence, Xun Feng, Chantal, Jie Sze, Sua Yee Fang, Jo Yi , Upa and Ana. Thanks to each and every one of you for making this seventh “Tri Campus Games” an unforgettable experience!
Last but not least, I do not want to end without recalling my dear friend Jake Samuels Andrews who recently passed away. I do not doubt that you have been watching the tournament from heaven, encouraging each and every one of us with his ever immortal and captivating smile. We miss you Jake. Rest in peace brother.