Before coming to UEL I was very excited at the prospect of studying at the same University where one of my sporting heroes had walked the halls, completed his degree and trained as a world class athlete.
So, when I had the chance to attend the Scholars evening where GB sprinter and current World Champion 4x100m, Adam Gemili would be present, I jumped at the opportunity.
Like so many Brits it was heart-breaking to see Gemili miss out on a medal at the 2016 Olympics by a fractional margin but very special to see him and his team win gold at this summer’s World Championships.
A love for UEL
The first thing I noticed about the man was how down to earth he was, when speaking about his friends at University and getting the DLR in to campus like we all do he said, “It brings back old memories and I love it here.”
Adam had time to speak to everyone who approached him giving them advice on both their sporting careers and their studies. He posed for pictures with them and was always very friendly.
The Sprinter was in high demand with everyone wanting to speak to him. So, when I had the opportunity to get him over and speak on camera with my fellow classmates I knew I had to take it.
Support from UEL
Gemili spoke highly of the support he was given from the Scholarship Programme, “I don’t think I would of got my degree if it was not for the support of Matt (Tansley) and David Cosford, my lecturers and the rest of the scholars.”
When asked about what challenges he faced at UEL he replied, “The biggest thing for me was managing time, when you are training it is very intense and when you have got a lot of deadlines… especially in my third year it can be quite tough… you have to plan your time well, talk to your lecturers and work out ways and strategies to get around it.”
Competing on a World Stage
Adam is extremely proud of hi success at this summer’s World Championships, “I was really happy to be involved in that team, it was not the best summer for me in terms of individual athletics but I had to put that behind me, keep myself fit and positive.”
When I asked Gemili about missing out at the Olympics last summer he was quick to pick up on my mistake that it was 3 thousandths of a second and not 6 thousandth of a second! In this sport milliseconds make all the difference.
Although disappointed with his performance Gemili took only positives from the experience, “That was a tough moment it took me a while to get over actually, like I say you always learn from your losses.”
And just like a seasoned veteran of sport, the former UEL Student then offered some advice to current students, “Give it your all and really commit to every bit of work that you have got to do and enjoy it.. because your three years will fly by.”
After completing the interview, I had a chat with Gemili about football, the former player was pleased with how former club Thurrock FC gained promotion to the Bostik Premier last season.
It’s a bit cheesey, but Adam was a very nice guy and a proper role model to students here at the University.
I’m happy to have met my hero and hope that many will follow in his footsteps to compete on the global stage both on and off the track.