19 – Personal Best

Discovery Trail 19 (Indoor Athletic Center, photographic montage)

19 IACCompetitive sport at Brunel and its forbear institutions has a long and proud history.

The sporting success that Brunelians have enjoyed can be traced directly to one of the university’s predecessor institutions – Borough Road College in Isleworth, West London. The College was founded in 1798 by the educationalist Joseph Lancaster in Borough Road, Southwark, and moved to the Isleworth site in 1889. At Borough Road, a tradition of sporting excellence was set in motion immediately after World War II and this has continued to the present day. The early 1980s witnessed a golden era with the athletics and rugby union teams being dominant on the national stage. One of the best known sporting personalities of this era was Kathy Smallwood-Cook MBE, the most decorated Brunel athlete of all time (fourth from right). The 1990s were possibly the most successful epoch across a range of sports with Borough Road teams coming to the fore in athletics, basketball, hockey, netball, rugby union and soccer. One of the most celebrated sporting alumni of the 1990s was Iwan Thomas MBE (far right). Thomas’s athletic career reached its zenith in 1998 when he scooped gold medals over 400 metres at the Commonwealth Games, European Championships and IAAF World Cup. In the summer of 2002, the Department of Sports Sciences moved from the Borough Road campus to Uxbridge and this heralded a multi-million-pound investment in the state-of-the-art sports facilities that students and elite athletes make use of today.

The main panel on display in the IAC showcases the following athletes:

Iwan Thomas MBE is a former European and Commonwealth Games champion over 400 metres and is still the current British Record Holder for the event.

Perri Shakes-Drayton is a current British sprinter who specialises in 400-metre hurdles. Perri was the European Indoor Champion over 400 metres in 2013 and is ranked 2nd on the UK All Time list over 400-metre hurdles.

Laura Turner is a former UK Champion over 100 metres who represented Great Britain at the 2008 Olympics in the 4 x 100-metre relay and the 100 metres.

Kathy Cook MBE is one of the most successful female sprinters in British athletics history. She is a three-time Olympic bronze medallist, including at 400 metres in Los Angeles 1984.

Sheylayna Oskan-Clarke is a current British 800-metre athlete who made a big breakthrough in 2015 finishing 5th at the World Championships in Beijing.

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