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UEL celebrates a year of achievement at Sports Awards 2018

Ceremony honours achievements on and off the playing field

The University of East London (UEL) celebrated another year of sporting supremacy at the eighth annual Sports Awards on 23 May at Indigo at The O2.

Prizes were awarded to students for their accomplishments on and off the field, while a lifetime achievement award was given to the former West Indian cricket captain Clive Lloyd CBE.

The Guyanan born all-rounder, who led the West Indies to successive World Cup titles in 1975 and 1979, was awarded for his stellar cricketing career, as well as his charitable work off the field.

Mr Lloyd advised students, “If you’re doing anything, do it well. That should be your ultimate aim. To be the best at everything you do.”

Before the awards were doled out, UEL’s new Director of Sport Matthew Tansley spoke about how proud he felt to work with the high calibre of student athletes at the University, highlighting the current students and alumni who represented their countries at the Commonwealth Games in Australia this year and the incredible achievements in team sports by UEL students.  

He said, “I am going to ask all of you in this room to join me in shaping our future, to come together and work hard to establish UEL as the leading University for Sport. One University, one community, one team, Team UEL”. 

UEL Chair of the Board of Governors Geoff Thompson MBE shared the vision. He said he wants UEL to become “the best university for sport, both nationally and internationally.”

UEL has a strong presence in international sport, and the UEL’s women’s athletics quartet of Corinne Humphreys, Maya Bruney, Lauren Russel and Shannon Hylton, as well as Joe Ikhinmwin (basketball), Owen Edwards (fencing) and canoeists Zac Allin and Chris Bowers, received international excellence awards for their feats on the world stage. 

Paralympic thrower Vanessa Wallace capped another brilliant year by grabbing the Mike Brace CBE award for Individual Achievement of the Year. Vanessa was runner-up for the award in 2017.

She said, “I wasn’t expecting it at all, I’m very honoured. UEL has contributed so much, they are an integral part of my training, and keeping me going with my career."

The taekwondo team (pictured above) were named Club of the Year, with the rowing club receiving Most Improved Club of the Year, and Coach of the Year given to Tope Ali-Balogun of the women’s basketball team.

Team Achievement of the Year went to the men’s volleyball team and the Director of Sport Premier Award went to the women’s basketball squad, who this year became the sixth UEL team to reach the top of their BUCS league.

Women’s basketball captain and sports scholar Alex Sasebes said, “We are really excited, we have been working so hard for it. We are really proud of ourselves and the UEL team that supported us.”

The Challenge Cup trophy was also presented to UEL captains Nisha Patel and David White, who led UEL to a crushing 14-5 victory over Anglia Ruskin University on home soil in April in the dual-university, multi-sport competition. 

Off the field of play, awards were given to Students of the Year Robson Friend of the Sports Journalism programme; Natalie Crosby in Sports Therapy; and Kehinde Ademola in Sport & Exercise Science.

The Vice Chancellor’s Service to Sport awards were given to Lloyd Makhanya (men’s football), Dom Stevens, Ish Gwegweni (both men’s basketball), Jade Baker (taekwondo) and Rob Wheeler (marketing and futsal). Sports Development Manager James Kilden presented tennis specialists WimX with the Partner of the Year award.

When asked about UEL's sports season, Mr Tansley showed great pride. He said, “it’s been another amazing year for UELSports and another brilliant awards night. There is no better way to celebrate the commitment and achievements of our students. It was a special feeling to have attended as the new Director of Sport, having been with the service for six years and watching it grow. I hope my journey will inspire others and demonstrate that with sport and education you can achieve so much.” 

When asked about the future, he said,” There is still a long way to go but with this group of students and staff I believe we can continue to build on the success of the last six years and leave a legacy that our community can be proud of.”