Following the city’s success hosting the 2012 Olympic Games 5 years ago, July and August saw the world’s greatest athletes return to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in East London for the 2017 IAAF World Championships.
The legacy of the Olympic Games is clear to see as you visit east London, with the vast Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park providing a wealth of world-class sports venues, accommodation for thousands of citizens and a growing hub of businesses having transformed what was previously a desolate and unused section of the city.
Among those competing at the prestigious competition this year were current King’s students Laviai Nielsen and Dina Asher-Smith. Asher-Smith, who is due to graduate this year with a degree in History, is the current British women’s record holder for both the 100m and 200m. Along with Asha Philip, Desirèe Henry, Daryll Neita, she set a season’s best of 41.93s to win the silver medal in the 4 x 100m final.
21 year old Laviai Nielsen, who has taken a year out from her Geography degree to focus on her athletic career, was a bag carrier for one of the stars of the 2012 games, Jessica Ennis-Hill. She remembers the reception that a home athlete received when stepping out into the Olympic Stadium, saying: ‘I stood behind Jessica Ennis and when she came out the crowd cheering was the loudest thing I’ve heard in my life,” she later recalled. “I thought, ‘I want that’.
5 years later, Nielsen played a vital role in the 4 x 400m race at the World Championships, pulling the British team into third place during her leg. The team, completed by Zoey Clark, Perri Shakes-Drayton and Emily Diamond held off strong competition to finish behind the USA and Poland in the final to win the bronze medal.
King’s strives to achieve excellence in all that it does; to support sporting excellence, as part of our Performance Sport programme, King’s Sport has established Performance scholarships to identify and advance the University’s most talented individual student athlete. King’s Sport have produced a video showing the leading stars of sport at King’s, showing the support that the university gives to those with the prodigious talent shared by Nielsen and Asher-Smith.