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Love Island favourite Ovie Soko talks training and life lessons at University of East London

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London Lions welcomed new forward, 'Love Island' star Ovie Soko

The University of East London welcomed the championship British Basketball League team London Lions this week for training at SportsDock, with the team’s new forward, ‘Love Island’ star Ovie Soko, interviewed by ITV News.

The University has signed a deal to become a major partner of the London Lions, and the team trains regularly at the University’s world-class sports facility, one of London’s largest indoor sports venues. The special event on Thursday at the University’s Docklands campus highlighted efforts to promote increased participation in sport and education. 

Speaking exclusively to the University of East London, ‘Love Island’ favourite Ovie said, “Sport has played a huge role in my life. I grew up playing football, rugby, everything under the sun. I ended up playing basketball and falling in love with it, and it’s taken me around the world.

“Bigger than that, sport has been something that has helped me to grow as a person, has taught me a lot about people, it has enabled me to visit different cultures, and it’s just taught me a whole bunch of life lessons. I feel like there are a lot of life lessons that can be learned within team sports and the sporting environment.”

Sports teams are part of our community and bring us together, he said. “In a community that has many other issues, we need as many as things as possible to bring people together and feel like family.  

“I think sports is huge for communities; it's been huge for me.”

The Lions are fresh from winning the British Basketball League (BBL) Championship in the 2018/19 season and the British All Stars Championship in October, and they are pushing ahead with plans to boost their squad and brand presence.

The University will officially launch its new partnership at the Lions home game against Bristol Flyers on 18 December, which will extend across the rest of the BBL season in 2020.

The University will work with the Lions to strengthen its elite sport offering and create career pathways for students from diverse fields, such as media, physiotherapy and sports management. University athletes will have privileged access to professional sporting opportunities while students will gain invaluable experience with a professional sports franchise. 

The University and Lions will also work together to promote increased participation in both sport and education, in keeping with the goals of Vision 2028, the University’s 10-year plan, to improve wellbeing within local and global communities.

Ovie’s colleague, Jules Dang Akodo, a point guard for the London Lions, said, “As athletes at this level, it’s important to have great facilities like this. It’s great for SportsDock to allow us to use the facilities and to be here almost every day. We really enjoy it.”

Watch the London Lions in action during training and an interview with Ovie Soko at the University of East London’s SportsDock on ITV News: