University of East London aiming for the top

[newsimage=0]In 2009, the University of East London didn’t have a boat club. Fast forward two years, and the UELBC is fast on its way to becoming a fixture of university rowing in the UK.

The burgeoning university club claimed four podium-finishes at the British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) Small Boats Head earlier this month, including a gold medal in the Lightweight Women’s Double.

Future plans for UELBC include the opening of a £21 million state-of-the-part sports facility in Spring 2012, as well as investment in a new fleet of boats and a new boathouse facility.

‘Having been involved with UELBC since its conception I am very excited about the club’s potential and also its future aspirations,’ said club president Natalie Campbell. ‘With the structures, programmes, staff and students we now have in place there is no question that UELBC will be a contender within university rowing, not just within London, but as a strongly recognised club within the British Rowing community.’

The university also offers special rowing scholarships, to enable its rowers the opportunity to combine training and study as effectively as possible.

GB Rowing Team U23 rower John Collins was the first rower to receive a UEL Sports Scholarship in 2010, before being joined by Leander’s Alan Sinclair, John Preston, and Ed Whitley.

The four men went on to win four medals at the BUCS Rowing Championship in May, with Collins and Sinclair also picking up UELBC’s first ever FISA European Universities Rowing Championships gold medal in September.

UEL’s Sports Scholarships were awarded to nine rowers this year, including German rower Merle Schaefer – who won the university’s gold medal at the BUCS Small Boats Head, alongside Rebecca Humphreys.

‘UEL has helped me with being a rower and studying at the same time,’ said Schaefer. ‘I have never experienced such massive support before, not just financial support but help with whatever, whenever you need it.’

As well as continuing to develop its rowing squad, UELBC has also sought to strengthen its links to the local community – opening its doors to London Youth Rowing and rowers from Queen Mary University.

UEL’s Docklands campus is now the home of East London-based London Youth Rowing, which is a British Rowing-supported initiative to get young people from all backgrounds out onto the water.

Find out more about London Youth Rowing.

For more information about UEL’s January 2012 Sports Scholarships, visit www.uel.ac.uk.

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