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UEL road to Rio: David Cosford to help Team GB athletes prepare for Olympics

David Cosford, Director of Sport at the University of East London (UEL), will be able to keep a close eye on UEL athletes as they prepare for next month’s Rio Olympics after being handed a key organisational role in Brazil by the British Olympic Association.

David has been appointed as a ‘sports lead’ at the BOA’s pre-Olympic preparation camp in Belo Horizonte – a 45-minute flight from Rio di Janeiro. Many Team GB athletes will be based there in the run-up to the Games.

His task will be to ensure that Team GB athletes have everything they need in the final days of preparation before they fly in to Rio to compete in their events.

David, who is due to fly out to Brazil on July 17 and will remain in Belo Horizonte for the next four weeks, will look after athletes from boxing, judo, fencing, table tennis, weightlifting, marathon swimming and taekwondo.

He will be joining UEL students Aimee Willmott and Lawrence Okolie, who have qualified for the Olympics in swimming and boxing respectively, as well as track sprinter Adam Gemili, who graduated from UEL last year.

“I’m really excited,” said David. “When I get the Team GB kit it will feel very real! It’s going to be great to meet up with the UEL students and alumni competing at the Games as well as looking after all the other elite athletes there.”

The job will be far from a walk in the park, though, as David will have to be on call 24 hours a day. 

“I’ve seen the boxing schedule starts with a run at 5.30am. I’ll have to be awake for that to make sure everything is okay, whereas some of the judo teams like to train late in the evenings as that’s when they’ll be competing.

“I’ll have to recharge the batteries beforehand but I’m really up for the challenge.”

David has first-hand experience of helping Olympic athletes prepare for competition after UEL played host to the Team USA pre-Games training camp before the London 2012 Olympics.

“The athletes and coaches will come into the prep camp around seven days before the competition starts and it’s my job to make them feel like they’re at home and that they’re in the best situation and condition to win a medal.

“I’ll be making sure the competitors have everything they need, from sports science to nutrition and to make sure the venues are set up correctly. I’ll be at their beck and call.”

David has already travelled to Brazil with the BOA to view the sites he will be looking after in Belo Horizonte.

And even though the Games have yet to start, his involvement with Team GB has yielded a number networking opportunities to help UEL in the future.

He said, “The high-performance staff I’ve travelled with have already started discussions about UEL and the fantastic sports scholarship schemes we offer, where we nurture students who do want to study and have a good education while also achieving a world-class level of sports performance.”