Imperial athletes set their sights on this year’s Tokyo Olympic Games

Imperial athletes head to Tokyo to compete in this year’s Summer Olympic Games.

While a medical student at St Mary’s Hospital Medical School (now part of Imperial College London) from 1951-54, Sir Roger Bannister trained to run the first sub four-minute mile run in Oxford on 6th May 1954.

67 years later, another Imperial student is hoping to create his own historical moment – Daniel Rowden. The Mechanical Engineering student, who is currently the British Champion, will be representing Team GB in the 800 metres race.

At the British Championships in Manchester in September 2020, Daniel won the British 800m gold medal with a stadium record of 1:45.94. Having equalled Olympian Steve Ovett’s PB of 1:44.09, the 23-year-old is already the ninth fastest 800m runner in British history.

The men’s 800m final will take place on Wednesday 4 August.

From zoology to Olympic rowing

Imperial alumni and past and present members of Imperial College Boat Club will also be representing Team GB in rowing.

Henry Fieldman, who graduated with a BSc in Zoology from Imperial in 2011, will cox the men’s eight in this summer’s games. As cox, he will be responsible for the crew on the water, keeping a good lookout, steering the boat and issuing commands to the crew.

Henry started rowing while at school, deciding during his final years that he wanted to take rowing further forward as he started his studies at the College. He knew that Imperial had a successful rowing team – Imperial College Boat Club – and that they were coached by Steve Trapmore MBE, who had himself won Olympic gold as part of the men’s eight in Sydney in 2000. Henry joined the team, hoping to learn as much as possible from him.

When Henry moved to the University of Cambridge for postgraduate studies, Steve had also moved to Chief Coach of Cambridge University Boat Club and continues to coach Henry as High Performance Coach within the Great Britain Olympic Rowing programme.

A scientific approach to rowing

Talking about how his academic studies help his rowing, Henry said: “I try to take a little bit of that problem solving mentality to the issues we face in the boat, and it has really helped me in my sport. It helps me be as meticulous as possible – maybe one thing looks like the answer, but is it really the answer? Let’s dig in a little bit deeper. And is there a bias in this assumption of mine, or whoever I’m talking to? I think a scientific approach is definitely still with me.”

Henry and the men’s eight will compete in the heats on Sunday 25 July, with the final on Friday 30 July.

While many members of the Boat Club past and present are Imperial students, the club is also open to students from other universities. Former Imperial College Boat Club rowers Sara Parfett and Rebecca Shorten will be competing in the Women’s Eights and Women’s Fours respectively.

Image credits: Izzie Cooper

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