Former Jamaica and West Indies fast bowler Michael Holding, has been honoured with a 'Lifetime Achievement' award at the University of East London's annual Sports Awards, celebrating an unprecedented year for the University’s sports teams.
Holding, widely regarded as one of the greatest fast bowlers of all time, was a key player in the legendary West Indies squad which dominated international cricket at a time of global race riots and apartheid, with an exceptional winning streak that lasted from the mid-Seventies to the early Nineties.
Despite his easy-going persona, Holding was feared by batsman the world over, often referred to by the chilling moniker ‘Whispering Death’.
Speaking to a packed audience at the Emirates Stadium - home of Arsenal Football Club - Michael said: "It's a great honour to be receiving this award. It means a lot, when I was a kid my mother always told me ‘make sure you get a piece of paper behind your name', and now I’m a doctor. It’s a great feeling to know that the University of East London wants to give me this award.”
The event, which was also attended by UEL Chancellor, Lord Noon, and High Commissioner of Jamaica, Her Excellency Aloun Ndombet-Assamba, along with Olympian rowing star, Mark Hunter MBE, saw students in jubilant mood, having enjoyed a truly exceptional year in sport.
Director of Sport, David Cosford, described the day as ‘Wonderful Wednesday’ earlier this year when UEL teams ‘swept the board’ at the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) cup finals, bringing home an impressive haul of winners medals, and in some cases, beating teams many tiers higher up the league. UEL was also recognised by BUCS in 2011 as the most improved university for sport.
In other highlights of the evening, Essex County Cricket Club were awarded partner of the year; Team GB sprint sensation and sport sciences student, Adam Gemili received an International Excellence Award, while the Men’s Rowing Heavyweight Quad team received individual recognition in the Achievement of the Year category.
The University of East London aims to be the number one university in London for sport by 2015.
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