Rio 2016Olympic & Paralympic Games

News

26 Apr 2016

Tears of joy for Sonia Samuels

After 20 years of hard work, Loughborough resident and University graduate Sonia Samuels has finally achieved her dream – becoming an Olympian.

Second British woman across the line in Sunday’s London Marathon, Samuels fulfilled the British Athletics selection criteria, and will now represent Team GB in Rio this summer.

Heading to London, Samuels knew a top two finish was all she needed, after running a swift 2.28.04 personal best at the Berlin Marathon in September, which was almost three minutes inside the British Athletics selection standard of 2.31. That performance, the fastest time by a Brit for four years, had filled her with confidence.

Running in a group with the other four British contenders, Samuels stayed strong throughout, finishing just eight seconds down on Alyson Dixon, and securing her top two spot with a 2.32.00 performance.

That means the 36 year old, who has trained at Loughborough University ever since she graduated over a decade ago, has finally fulfilled her dreams.

Talking through tears of joy post-race, Samuels said:

“It feels amazing – I don’t really know what to say. I’m just so excited to have finally done it. It’s been 20 years of waiting and to finally have a dream come true is amazing.

“We went off at a decent pace (2.28 pace) but it slowed down quite significantly at around eight miles. At 16 miles Aly and Charlotte (British rivals) started to push the pace and I knew those were the moves I had to watch and go with. It was then a case of just hanging on in there until the end.

“It’s been a fantastic journey that I’ve shared with my husband (Nick, also a Loughborough graduate) and I wouldn’t want it any other way.”

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P.W.Matthews@lboro.ac.uk

Pete Matthews
PR Officer (Sport)
Loughborough University