Trinity has not one but two athletes at the Tokyo Olympics.
Fresh from erging in her living room over lockdown will be medical student Imogen Grant, powering down the Olympic Regatta course on Saturday 24 July in the Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls.
And in a change of scene from the Cavendish Laboratory, PhD researcher Louise Shanahan is in Tokyo gearing up for the 800 metres on Friday 30 July. She is representing Ireland.
‘I really can’t believe it, it’s a dream come true,’ said the physicist, who joined the University’s Athlete Performance Programme on coming to Cambridge from Cork, via Berkeley California, in 2019.
Imogen Grant, who will take to the water with her sculling partner Emily Craig, said she was honoured to represent Great Britain.
I am really excited to represent both Cambridge and Great Britain on the world stage.
It’s been quite a journey for the Trinity student who had not touched an oar before reluctantly taking part in a First and Third event for Freshers in 2014.
She went on to row for Cambridge, including two victorious Boat Races, won gold in the lightweight single sculls at the U23 World Rowing Championships in 2018, and in 2019 qualified for the lightweight double sculls for the Olympic games with a bronze medal at the World Championships.
With 2020 Olympics postponed due to the pandemic, Imogen extended her time out of medical training to focus on rowing. In June this year she was selected for the Olympics.
It has been three years of hard work in the GB Rowing Team, as well as navigating a global pandemic. I am so grateful to First and Third for introducing me to the sport, and to the Cambridge Clinical School for their flexibility in allowing me to take time off to train full time.
Last year Louise Shanahan won gold in the 800 metres at the 2020 British University Indoor Championships and her thoughts turned to the World Student Games in China this summer.
Last year summer was a breakthrough year for me…I started consistently performing at a high level, so I was really excited going into this year.
Coming off the non-existent cross country season onto the track season I was really lucky to have access to the track and gym and be able to train throughout the lockdown.
Winning her first national senior 800-metre title this year meant that Tokyo was within striking distance.
‘I AM GOING TO THE OLYMPICS!’ She tweeted. ‘Thank you to everyone who helped to make this dream come true.’
I’m not going to lie, I was aiming for Paris 2024 so getting selected for Tokyo is ahead of schedule’ Louise told Cork’s Echo Live. ‘When I get to the Olympics the main aim will be just to run as good a race as possible.’
Good luck Louise and Imogen!
The Women’s 800 metres starts at 9.50am (Japan Standard Time) on Friday 30 July. Details can be found in the Athletics Schedule.
The Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls start on Saturday 24 July at 10.50am (Japan Standard Time.) Details can be found in the Rowing Schedule.
Japan is eight hours ahead of UK summer time.