Record-breaking year celebrated at Sports Awards 2017
UEL celebrates stellar sporting year of league titles and individual medals
The University of East London (UEL) celebrated the stellar sporting achievements of its students at the eight Annual Sports Awards.
The awards ceremony took place at London’s indigo at the 02 Arena, with prizes being handed out not just to athletes but to those who have excelled behind the scenes.
As part of the ceremony, Ruth Holdaway, chief executive of the charity Women in Sport, was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science as well as a Lifetime Achievement Award for her service to sport.
Speaking to an audience full of students aspiring to break into the world of sport, Ruth said, “I really hope that things are starting to change for the women here tonight that want to go into a career in sport.
“The future is in your hands. Live and take risks; love and respect the world we live in and hope, be positive, aspire to be better and the world will be a better place.”
UEL swimmer Aimee Willmott, one of six UEL students and alumni who competed at Rio 2016, received the Mike Brace CBE Individual Achievement of the Year award for the second year running after reaching the Olympic final of the Women’s 400 metres individual medley.
The Team Achievement of the Year award was given to the Outdoor Athletics team, whose record-breaking weekend at the British Universities and College’s Sport (BUCS) Outdoor Championships saw them win 11 medals, including eight golds.
International Excellence awards were handed to shot putter Youcef Zatat, archer Jaspreet Sagoo, long jumper Darren Wiafe-Morson and F34 seated shot putter Vanessa Wallace, who competed at the Rio 2016 Paralympics and recently broke UK records in both F34 shot put and discus.
The Club of the Year and Most Improved Club of the Year were awarded to the Volleyball and Rugby teams respectively, while five-time Paralympian Ann Wild OBE received the Zawdie Bascomb Award for Coach of the Year after guiding the UEL Wheelchair Basketball team to the national title.
For work behind the scenes, Vice Chancellor’s Awards for Service to Sport were awarded to Ellie Clark, Zachary Gilboy, Dan Holmes, Elise Polley, Anna Palsdottir, Kay Parker, Beth Gunter and Don McDermott. The latter was also named Sports Journalism Student of the Year.
There were also awards for Paulina Ungurianu, who claimed the Sports Therapy Student of the Year prize, and Yasmin Hladkij, who was the Sport and Exercise Sciences Student of the Year. British Wheelchair Basketball picked up the Partner of the Year award.
Professor John Joughin, the UK Vice-Chancellor, praised the progress of sport at UEL, highlighting the huge achievements across the board by individuals and teams.
“Sport is one of the big success stories of UEL since the London 2012 Olympics,” he said. “We have a great talent pool in east London and beyond. We’re very committed to our community, and sport exemplifies that.”
UEL is arguably the most improved university in the UK for sport, having made stunning progress since appointing its first director of sport, David Cosford, in 2009.
When David joined, the University had no sports facilities, no dedicated sports staff, no sports budget and only a couple of recreational clubs. Since then, the statistics paint a remarkable picture:
75 BUCS league titles won between 2010-17
55 students who have represented their country
Over 100 individual BUCS medals won by UEL students
350 sports scholarships awarded since scheme launched in 2010
185 sports scholars enrolled for 2016-17
13 sports represented by current sports scholar cohort
7 successive promotions for men’s football team between 2009-2016
6 successive promotions for men’s tennis team between 2010-2016
6 UEL students and alumni selected for Rio 2016
23 sports clubs now operating across University
Circa 3,000 registered members at SportsDock