A former British Olympian has helped launch four new boats for De Montfort University Leicester’s (DMU) Rowing Club.
Annamarie Phelps, Chairman of British Rowing and once World Champion rower, spoke to students, staff and alumni at The Watershed, the home of DMU Sport, at a naming ceremony.
The unveiling of the boats by Annemarie - recently been appointed as Trustee and Board Member of the British Olympic Association - is part of DMU’s ongoing investment in sport, having already announced its biggest ever commitment of £1 million for coaching and support.
Annamarie, a graduate of Cambridge University said: “One of the things that is really important is the academic benefits of sport.
“The friendships you make in sport at university and the bonds you build as teams, as well as staying in touch with alumni networks is vitally important.
“I hope this sporting facility and new boats will help you all continue to build those fantastic bonds, as it is these extra-curricular activities and not being in the lecture theatre that brings your alumni back together.”
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The first of the boats has been named ‘Fearless’, a word associated with DMU partner Leicester City Football Club and incorporated into DMU’s new TV advertisement campaign; ‘Dare to Do’.
The second named ‘Pride’ highlights DMU’s support and wider networks with the LGBTQ+ community in Leicester and across the globe.
The third and fourth boats have been named Joe Brunton and Richard Entwhistle who are both alumni of the university.
Joe was the President of DMU Rowing Club back in 2011 and has had a boat named after him thanks to his hard work and commitment in helping the club to where they are today.
The rowing club's base at the Watershed, as well as the presence of Mike Hughes as dedicated coach, is partly down to the work Joe did while at the university.
The Industrial Design graduate, who was at the event helping ‘christen’ the new boats with a bottle of champagne, said: “To see the investment in sport DMU is making is just incredible.
“When I was at DMU, we had a coach in our third year and we did really well, but the following year we didn’t have one and results showed.
“Teams who have dedicated coaches and facilities like this can really help them feel that sport is being taken seriously.”
Ahead of the event, Annamarie enjoyed a tour of some of DMU’s other new facilities including the Vijay Patel Building at the heart of campus.
The Atlanta 1996 Olympian then had a guided tour of the Watershed, where DMU Sport staff work and where DMU’s sports and societies hold training and events.
Annamarie said: “Just to have your own base as students, I think makes a big difference.
“I am sure that the strategic planning of sport will have a huge benefit as this structure allows students to get on with and enjoy their sport.
“Students today don’t just look at the academic side of sport, but also the extra-curricular opportunities available and the lifestyles they will be leading. Having these sorts of facilities on offer is a bonus.”
Posted on Tuesday 25th October 2016