Former student Bianca Williams set the seal on a golden Commonwealth Games for the University of East London (UEL) by helping England to victory in the women’s 4x100 metres relay on Australia’s Gold Coast.
Bianca, who graduated from UEL with a degree in Sport and Exercise Science in 2016, ran a brilliant third leg to give anchor runner Lorraine Ugen a commanding lead going into the final straight.
Ugen held off the fast-finishing Jamaican and Nigerian athletes to cross the line in a national record of 42.46 seconds and deliver gold to Bianca and her other English team-mates – Asha Philip and Dina Asher-Smith.
Bianca’s podium finish took UEL’s final medal tally for the Games to two golds and one bronze following swimmer Aimee Willmott’s triumph in the 400 metres individual medley on the opening day of competition and Ali Jawad’s third place in the lightweight Para-powerlifting contest.
Ali also produced one of the most spectacular celebrations of the Games – a reflection of his delight at having overcome an 18-month battle with Crohn’s disease that had threatened the end of his competitive career.
Ali said, “After the 18 months that I have had, this is probably my best career performance.
“After the Rio Paralympics I had a massive flare-up, I tried to come back but I failed again – my career was pretty much over last year and I don’t really know how I have come back.”
The UEL medal total might well have been even larger had not former student Adam Gemili and current student Corinne Humphreys been hit by injuries during the Games. Both were forced to pull out of finals.
A total of seven current and former UEL students were in action in Australia, with long jumper Darren Wiafe-Morson and basketball player Joe Ikhinmwin also flying the flag for UEL.
Geoff Thompson, the Chair of UEL’s Governors and a former five-time world karate champion, said, “Everyone at UEL is very proud of the performances of our seven current and former students who have been competing in Australia with so much distinction. May I congratulate all of them on their efforts. Their determination and commitment to succeed is truly inspirational.”