EALING runner Richard Charles says all roads now lead to the European Under-23 Championships after finishing his indoor season with a bang at the BUCS Nationals in Sheffield.

Charles, representing St Mary’s University, clocked 1:50.03 to win the 800m final ahead of Birmingham’s Ben Waterman and Zak Curran of Loughborough at the EIS track.

The 20-year-old steadily improved throughout the rounds, posting progressively faster times before deservedly leaving with the gold around his neck.

Though he was initially in two minds about competing, Charles admits he definitely made the right decision.

“I’ve been working hard this winter and it’s good to see I’m progressing,” he explained.

“I’ve been speculating whether or not to do BUCS for the whole of last year. I’m in my second year and I thought I’d come out and do it. I’m so glad – it’s such a good championship.

“My indoor season is done now, I’m just going to get back on the track and go for the European U23 Championships.

“I’ve got to get the time - that’s the hard thing - but hopefully I can.”

The BUCS Nationals are the UK’s largest annual multi-sport event, and the 2015 edition involved 6,000 student athletes descending on the Steel City.

Charles clinched the BUCS 800m title just a week after what was, by his own admission, a disappointing showing at the British Indoor Championships.

That event was also in Sheffield and Charles finished sixth in his heat.

“The BUCS final was a really physical race. We were just together the whole way,” he added. “I just hoped I could get somewhere on the inside.

“Last week, I got knocked into the inside and came last in my heat, so I wanted to make up for that.”

British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) is the governing body for higher education sport in the UK, representing 170 institutions and enabling 52 sport programmes. BUCS has been shortlisted for Governing Body of the Year at the BT Sports Industry Awards 2015 and is supported by Deloitte www.bucs.org.uk