Sprint star Gemili 'never been happier' at UEL
History-making sprinter Adam Gemili has described his time at the University of East London as “the best three years of my life” after completing the final assignment of his Sport and Exercise Science degree.
The 21-year-old, who has the honour of being the first Briton in history to run the 100 metres in under 10 seconds and the 200m in under 20 seconds, has paid tribute to the support he received from his lecturers in UEL’s School of Health, Sport and Bioscience. Watch the interview here.
“I’ve never been happier and I’ve learned so much,” he said. “The lecturers and the facilities are world-class. It’s just a nice, happy place to be.
“I never felt alone while I was doing my degree. There was always the support of students and always the support of lecturers. It’s just a great place to learn and to take some great experiences from there into the real world when you take that big jump into adult life.
“My degree itself was so interesting and I really enjoyed my three years at the University of East London. If anyone is thinking of joining, I’d recommend it 100 per cent. Give it a chance because you won’t be disappointed.”
Since bursting onto the athletics scene in 2012 when he won the junior world 100m title and reached the 100m semi-finals at the London Olympics, Adam has established himself a global force in sprinting.
He won gold in the 200m at the 2014 European Championships in Zurich and, at the 2015 Birmingham Grand Prix, he clocked a breakthrough 9.97 seconds in a 100m race. Having previously run the 200m in under 20 seconds on two occasions, he became the first Briton in history to complete the sub-10, sub-20 double.
Over the last three years, Adam’s life has revolved around an intensive training programme as well as frequent travel within the UK and abroad.
That is not exactly conducive to studying for a degree but Adam has praised his academic team for helping him to continue his studies by posting lectures online and taking a flexible approach to his learning.
“It was made a lot easier being at a university that was so accommodating,” said Adam. “I used to travel up and down the country and the lecturers made it very easy for me to be a full-time athlete.
“They podcasted all the lectures and they were all online so I could access them if ever I was abroad competing. They were also very flexible with deadlines and they were always there for support, which was the main thing.
“They were always encouraging me and helping me to get the best out of my degree and get the highest possible qualification that I can. That’s something I just want to thank them for.”
Like thousands of fellow UEL students, Adam is now waiting for his degree result, which should come shortly before he is due to compete at the World Championships in Beijing.
His mission is to add to his medal collection in the Chinese capital, and he is hoping that some of the research he carried out for his dissertation on whether certain warm-up exercises can result in extra speed will give him an edge over his rivals. His breakthrough sub-10-second performance at the Birmingham Grand Prix suggests it is already working.
“My dissertation was on post-activation potentiation theory, which is about getting your muscle to a near maximal contraction and then testing force and power production,” he said.
“I tested it on other sprinters and it relates to what I’m doing on the track. I’ve got some great results from that which hopefully I can implement and make myself run a bit faster.”
Adam admits that he feels “a bit sad” that his student days are over but is determined to maintain his links with the UEL.
“As an ex-student, I want to be involved with the University as much as I can and do what I can for them,” he said. “If they’ll have me back, I’d be more than happy to come and see the students.”
Notes to Editors
The University of East London (UEL) is a global learning community with students from over 120 countries world-wide. Our vision is to achieve recognition, both nationally and internationally, as a successful and inclusive regional university proud of its diversity, committed to new modes of learning which focus on students and enhance their employability, and renowned for our contribution to social, cultural and economic development, especially through our research and scholarship. We have a strong track-record in widening participation and working with industry.