National Championships founder visits Nottingham

The 40th AoC Sport National Championships welcomed a very special guest yesterday.

Hugh Johnson, the founder of the Championships in 1978, attended the VIP ceremony in Nottingham.

He was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award and cut the cake celebrating four decades of the prestigious event. 

Speaking about the ceremony itself, Hugh said: “It’s been a tremendous occasion, one that I’ll remember for many years to come.”

Hugh is 92 years old and still takes a great interest in the event, which he set up under the British Association for Sport in Colleges (BASIC) 40 years ago.

Hugh was the first chairman of BASIC, a post he held until 1985 when he retired as principal of Airedale & Wharfedale College, Leeds.

Back then, 6,000 students from 150 colleges took part in regional tournaments, with only 600 making the finals.

Now the Championships welcome nearly 2,000 finalists from 121 colleges in 13 sports and is the biggest further education sports event in in the UK.

“I could never have imagined it would grow so big,” said Hugh. “It really is thrilling to have so many students involved and it realises a dream.”

Hugh’s grand-daughter ran in the cross country event when it was held in Derby one year and won a silver medal, which he said was “a great thrill”.

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