After Team GB achieved their second-best ever performance at an overseas Olympics – with 65 medals including 22 golds – the attention now turns to the Paralympics, where two University of East London (UEL) heroes have been selected for the ParalympicGB squad.
Already on UEL's roll of honour, which recognises the University's history of high-performing sport students and alumni, Ali Jawad and Vanessa Wallace are competing in the powerlifting and F34 shot put respectively.
Vanessa Wallace, 44, is a part-time student studying a BSc in Sports and Exercise Science. She joined UEL through the New Beginnings programme, enabling mature learners without formal qualifications to access a range of degree programmes.
Vanessa's shot put career started in December 2014, and 18 months down the line she made the ParalympicsGB squad for the Rio 2016 Paralympics, eventually finishing 5th in the F34 shot put event.
Since then, there's been no stopping Vanessa, who won the gold at the 2018 World Para Athletics European Championships, followed by a silver at the same event in June 2021, this time as co-captain of the British team.
Looking ahead to the Games in Tokyo Vanessa said, "Tokyo 2020 has been my ambition as a competitor for some while. I am so happy. I can't wait for it to start."
Ali Jawad, 32, studied a BSc in Sport and Exercise Science at UEL and is a former world no.1 and two-time world record holder. Ali has appeared in the last three Paralympic Games, winning a silver medal in Rio 2016. He will be competing in the men's -59kg powerlifting.
Ali also recently appeared in Channel 4's Super Human trailer ahead of their coverage of the games, which was partly filmed at UEL's state-of-the-art SportsDock facilities in East London.