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Reading students compete in 2016 Olympic Games

Reading students in 2016 Olympic Games

The 2016 Olympic Games begin this weekend and we have three extra reasons to cheer on Team GB– Masters student Stewart Innes and graduates Sam Townsend and Alex Gregory will be chasing Olympic gold in rowing this year, and will compete on the opening weekend of the games.

European silver medallist Stewart Innes has been selected for the men’s pair alongside Alan Sinclair. They face a stern test in Rio as they take on New Zealand pair Hamish Bond and Eric Murray, who have claimed gold in every major event they have raced in since 2009. 

Rural Environmental Sciences graduate Sam Townsend will compete in the men’s quadruple sculls having been a finalist in the men’s double scull at the London 2012 games. Geography graduate Alex Gregory will row in the men’s coxless four having won gold in the event in 2012. 

Alex was one of two Reading students to win a gold medal in London, alongside graduate Anna Watkins, where Reading was represented by no less than 11 students in rowing and hockey. 

Both Sam and Alex were made Distinguished Fellows of the University of Reading in 2012 in recognition of their extraordinary contributions to a wonderful sporting summer.

Despite his hectic schedule of training and competing, Sam recently told The Reading Chronicle that he still finds time to work with the University: 

“I do the recruitment to try to get young junior scullers into the boat club, and also do a bit of coaching on a Wednesday afternoon.

“It has been a passion of mine to be involved in the uni boat club since I started rowing there in 2004.  Will Rand, the director of rowing there, and Sean Casey, the head coach, are doing an incredible job there and I really enjoy trying to help out in any way that I can do.”

Reading University Reading Boat Club is steeped in Olympic success. In addition to success at London 2012, Reading students and alumni added three medals to the team's impressive tally at the 2008 games in Beijing, and in the 2004 games in Athens, Reading rowers brought home one gold and two silver medals.

Will Rand, Director of the Reading University Boat Club, said: “The Reading University Boat Club is obviously thrilled to see three of our representatives competing for Great Britain at the Olympics.

“The club has a long tradition of training and nurturing world-class athletes, many of whom have had great success on the world stage. We have high hopes of further Olympic success for all three very talented oarsmen in Stewart, Sam and Alex – and we wish them the very best of luck.”

We wish Stewart, Sam and Alex the very best of luck in the Olympic Games! 

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