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St Mary's Alumni Selected to Row for Rio 2016

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Alumni of St Mary’s University, Twickenham Moe Sbihi and Karen Bennett have been selected to row for Team GB at Rio 2016. Moe has been selected to Row in the Men’s Four. His selection comes after a successful start to the rowing season with Team GB as the Men’s Four won the Gold at the European Championships. At the tournament, the crew saw a convincing victory finishing almost three seconds ahead of second place Belarus. Moe, who studied a BSc Sport Science with Health, Nutrition and Exercise as part of a sports scholarship at St Mary’s, has seen his career go from strength to strength in recent years, having been part of the crew that won the Bronze medal in the Men’s Eight at the London 2012 Olympic Games. He has since won five Gold medals and one Silver at the World and European Championships. Karen meanwhile has been selected to row in the Women’s Eight, following a highly successful European Championship in which the crew claimed Gold with a time of 06:51.46, half a second ahead of the Netherlands in second place, and four seconds ahead of Russia in third. After graduating from BSc Sports Rehabilitation in 2013, Karen’s rowing career has gone from strength to strength. She won the World University Championships Women’s Four in 2014 and a Silver Medal at the World Championships in 2015, also in the Women’s Four. Director of Sport St Mary’s Andrew Reid-Smith said, ”This is Moe’s second Games, the GB Men’s Four has a rich Olympic history and they will be strong contenders for the top spot in Rio. “Karen’s first selection for the senior GB rowing team was in 2014. Karen has already figured in medal winning crews and her qualification for Rio, as part of such a strong GB rowing squad, is a real testament to the progress she’s making.” Their selections mean that St Mary's is now seeing five alumni and students going to Rio 2016, alongside Team GB’s Beth Potter, Women’s 10,000m, and Joshua Buatsi, Light-Heavyweight Boxing, and Team Canada’s Leonora MacKinnon, Women’s Epee Fencing. St Mary’s has a proud history of Olympic and Paralympic success. The University’s sporting alumni include Mo Farah, the London 2012 double gold medallist and GB’s best ever distance runner, Rebecca Romero, an Olympic medallist in two different sports rowing and cycling making her one of GB’s greatest ever Olympians, and Moe Sbihi, London 2012 Bronze Medallist and World Champion Rower. Dave Weir, winner of four gold medals at the London Paralympics, trains at St Mary’s using the world-class facilities and support services. As part of St Mary’s contribution to the London Games the University supported athletes from ten different nations and provided Pre Games Training Camps for China, South Africa, Japan and Ireland.  Based on London 2012 medals won St Mary’s finished sixth, the highest placed London institution, in Podium’s league table for universities. Lord Coe, the chairman of the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games and President of the IAAF, opened St Mary’s latest sports facilities.  International athletes competing at the Games used these facilities, which continue to provide a sporting legacy for students, staff and local community alike.
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