Punch, throw, shoot: current and former students dominate back pages
Dual-career student athletes - past and present - continue to thrive, to national and global acclaim
A world boxing title. Two major basketball competition wins. A young footballer going professional.
Last weekend saw some of UEL’s finest achieve outstanding success on the sporting front, making headlines both nationally and across the world.
On Saturday night, Lawrence Okolie became a world cruiserweight champion in just his 16th professional fight - you can listen to him talking about his time at UEL in this BBC podcast.
Lawrence first rose to prominence after capturing the nation’s hearts at the 2016 Olympic Games, and has enjoyed a meteoric rise through the ranks.
His latest win sees him follow in the footsteps of the likes of Tony Bellew and David Haye, who both ended up in the heavyweight ranks, and Lawrence certainly has the world at his feet.
A day later, five current and former students helped London Lions (the capital’s only professional basketball outfit) win both the men’s and women’s BBL and WBBL Trophy finals in Worcester.
Cassie Breen, from our School of Psychology, scored a whopping 25 points in the women’s final; you can read more here. Also involved were Valentina Klocker, Paige Robinson and Josh Ward Hibbert, all enrolled on courses in the Royal Docks School of Business and Law, and alumnus Joe Ikhinmwin.
UEL Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Amanda Broderick, spoke of her pride at seeing the University’s sports stars thrive, and the importance of the dual-career pathway.
“We are working hard to inspire and push every student that comes to our University to realise their full potential. So, it was a real pleasure to watch these young people wow the world,” she said.
“Our Vision 2028 is all around making us the number one careers-focused university, and the pathways on offer at UEL allow talented sports men and women to pursue their athletic ambitions with academic study.
“There’s flexibility, support from some of the finest practitioners in their fields and opportunities to gain experience through our network of industry partners, which many of our students utilise.
“Importantly, Lawrence, Cassie and all the others involved are inspiring the next generation, and that’s vital given the year we’ve had. I’m sure they’ll continue to push the boundaries in the months and years to come.”
To cap it all, another alumnus in footballer Saidou Khan made the move to Dagenham & Redbridge.
Saidou has earned rave reviews since leaving the University and plying his trade in non-league football, most recently for Maidstone United. A number of full-time, professional clubs have been clamouring for his services with Dagenham winning the race.
Saidou spoke fondly of his formative years at UEL in an interview with the club’s TV channel upon signing, which was a testament to the world-class coaching and facilities available to both elite and recreational athletes.