Cooke, Gemili and Bennett pick up awards as UEL celebrates 12 magnificent months of sport
Olympic gold medal cyclist Nicole Cooke MBE picked up a lifetime achievement award and an honorary doctorate from the University of East London at their thrilling annual sports awards on 14 May.
BBC Football League Show presenter Manish Bhasin hosted the evening, at Arsenal’s Emirates stadium, which celebrated and recognised the efforts and successes of UEL’s highly talented sports students and clubs in the most amazing year of sport the university has ever had.
London Olympic 100m semi-finalist and UELSports scholar Adam Gemili, who recently won gold at BUCS (British Universities & College Sports), picked up the individual achievement of the year award from UEL governor and former British Paralympic Association chair Mike Brace CBE.
Olympic gold medal rower and UEL honorary doctor of science Mark Hunter and UEL sport sciences programme leader Dr Marcia Wilson presented Cooke with the award for her incredible cycling successes, her promotion of women in the sport and her anti-doping work in cycling.
Nicole said: “It’s a fantastic award to be recognised for and from a university so passionate about sport. I have been very impressed with the performance of the different teams and the camaraderie. Now I have the link with the university I look forward to seeing how sport grows and how I can contribute to sport at UEL.”
Cooke, who was Britain’s first ever grand tour winner and the youngest female winner of a grand tour winning the Giro D’Italia in 2004, presented the international excellence awards to Scottish international basketball player Douglas Bennett, judo gold medallist Julia Scardone and fencer UEL lecturer Dr Lindsay Bottoms, who represented GB this year.
Former Football Focus presenter Manish said: “I was so impressed by the talent the University of East London has grown and nurtured, particularly over the last year. I really enjoyed presenting the awards at a fun and lively night celebrating the tremendous achievements of the university’s most talented and dedicated sports stars.”
Notable UEL achievements over the year include winning 11 medals at BUCS athletics and rowing championships this month and six in the BUCS indoor championship for athletics, judo and boxing in March – the most successful medal haul for the university at the competitions.
UEL’s men’s basketball and volleyball teams made university history by becoming the first ever teams to qualify for the BUCS premier league and were rewarded for their successes picking up UEL director of sport David Cosford’s premier award.
The Taekwondo club picked up two awards for club of the year and coach of the year, which went to Shujahat Fiaz.
Team achievement of the year award was won by the women’s rowing team in a coxed four (C4+) and most improved club of the year went to netball. Partner of the year went to West Ham Community Sports Trust.
UEL Vice-Chancellor Professor John Joughin presented nine awards in the vice-chancellor’s service to sports category to Richard Buscombe in tennis, Josephine Fox in taekwondo, Will Ashby and Douglas Bennett in basketball, Mohit Rohra in cricket, Daniel McAndrew in rugby, Maximilian Oertel in rowing, Giulia Mazzia in volleyball and Sunniva Naess in handball.
Over the last 12 months UEL also won the Varsity competition and three of its students represented their nation in the World University Games.
Sport journalist of the year was presented by veteran Telegraph sports journalist Simon Hart to student Emmet McEvoy and sports therapy student of the year went to Jacqueline Bormann.
David Cosford said: “UEL is one of the best universities for sport in London. The students who study here are some of the highest achievers in their sport in the country. We also have brilliant, experienced and dedicated staff and superb facilities.
“The awards ceremony was a fantastic, fun and fulfilling night rewarding the hard-work, perseverance and talent of everyone who is part of team UEL.”