Last night, Wednesday 5th December, St Mary’s University College, Twickenham inducted double Olympic Gold medallist Mo Farah and Beijing Olympic Bronze medallist Matt Wells into its Hall of Fame for Sport.
The award was granted in recognition of the athletes’ sporting achievements. Former student Mo Farah, who lived and trained at St Mary’s for 10 years before relocating to the USA last year, secured Gold in the 5,000m and 10,000m events at London 2012. He was the first British man to win two Olympic track and field titles at the same Games since 1924 and is one of the best British male distance runners of all time.
Matt Wells also studied at St Mary’s and was an active participant in the University College’s sporting community during his time as a student. He won a Bronze double sculls Olympic medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and is credited with leading the resurgence in British men’s sculling.
The pair were inducted into the St Mary’s Hall of Fame for Sport during an Olympic celebration dinner, held at the University College’s Strawberry Hill campus. It recognised the University College’s involvement in the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and as an opportunity to thank the London Marathon for the continued support of St Mary’s Endurance Performance and Coaching Centre (EPACC). They join double Olympic medallist Rebecca Romero and London Marathon Race Director Dave Bedford, who were the first to be inducted into the Hall of Fame last year.
St Mary’s is one of the leading sporting institutions in the UK and has a long history of developing elite athletes, many of whom competed in the London 2012 Olympic Games. They include Mo Farah, Matt Wells, Rebecca Romero, Olympic Bronze rower Moe Sbihi, 800m Olympic finalist Andrew Osagie, current student and 1500m Olympic semi-finalist Ross Murray, and quadruple Gold Paralympian David Weir.
With its esteemed sporting reputation, St Mary’s was selected as an official pre-Games training camp for more than 150 athletes and officials from 10 nations, including teams from South Africa, Japan, China and Ireland. A delegation from Rio 2016 also attended the evening and St Mary’s is looking forward to building links in the run up to the 2016 Games.
St Mary’s Head of 2012 Preparations Prof Richard Fisher commented, “This was a special night with so many St Mary’s Olympians present. In Mo Farah and Matt Wells, we have two outstanding alumni who have taken their respective sports into new territory and, along with Bronze medallist Moe Sbihi, helped St Mary’s to top the university Olympic medal table in London.”
St Mary’s Principal Prof Philip Esler said, “Since St Mary’s has a distinctive, student-focused mission that aims at the development of the whole person where sport plays an important part, we are proud of the contribution we have made to the success of the London Olympic and Paralympic Games”.
St Mary’s Director of Sport Andrew Reid-Smith added, “St Mary’s understands high performance sport, and our work supported athletes winning three medals for team GB in the Games this summer. It is performances like this that will inspire the next generation into sport and will enable us to build on our Olympic legacy for many years to come.”