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Double Gold and Double Silver for St Mary's at Rio 2016 Halfway Point

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St Mary’s University, Twickenham is celebrating two Gold and two Silver Medals halfway through the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. This puts the London university at joint 17th in the world – with an equal medal count to Columbia, and ahead of Belgium, Jamaica and South Africa. Exceptional medal-winning performances have been flooding through, including: Gold for Alumnus Mo Farah in the 10,000m; Alumnus Moe Sbihi, who won a Gold Medal rowing in the Men’s Four at Rio 2016; the Team GB Rugby 7s squad, coached by St Mary’s Alumnus Simon Amor, who won Silver; and Alumna Karen Bennett who also won a Silver Medal over the weekend, as part of the rowing team that secured the first ever Olympic medal in the women's eight. Head of School for Sport Health and Applied Science, John Brewer said, "Whilst the nation rightly celebrates the successes of Team GB, we should all be proud of the contribution that is being made by our past and present students. Our four medals represent a tally that would place us high on the medal table if St Mary's were a country and this reflects the quality and dedication of the athletes from a range of sports who study here." Director of Sport St Mary’s Andrew Reid-Smith said, “Karen, Mo, Moe, and Simon are thoroughly deserving medal-winners. Their success in Rio is a result of the hard work we know they’ve put in over many years. An Olympic medal is the pinnacle of athletic achievement and we could not be prouder of them.” With just seven days to go, the University is confident further success could be on the cards, with current student, light-heavyweight boxer Joshua Buatsi, guaranteed at least Bronze after beating Algeria's Abdelhafid Benchabla to reach the semi-finals and students. Alumni and students are competing in a further nine events, including Mo Farah who races in the 5000m heats on Wednesday. St Mary’s has seen a record number of students, alumni and athletes selected for the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, building on a record 18 selected for London 2012, where the University ranked first in London, in Podium’s league table for universities. Andrew Reid-Smith added, “We’ve seen some impressive sporting performances from all St Mary's athletes. Our students and alumni alike have shown real tenacity in Rio, the Olympic values are exemplified through their performances and they are having a wonderful experience. We’re looking forward to welcoming all our Olympians back to campus, once their Olympic journey has been completed, to inspire the next generation of athletes.” 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. Lord Coe, the chairman of the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games and President of the IAAF, opened St Mary’s sports facilities, and these continue to provide a sporting legacy for students, staff and local community alike.
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