Isabel Lingard & Oluwaseun Olusanya of Exeter University at Henley Royal Regatta Qualifiers 2017
Oluwaseun Olusanya of Exeter University shortlisted for the World Rowing “Filippi Spirit Award”
Oluwaseun Olusanya of Exeter University Boat Club (EUBC) has been shortlisted for the Filippi Spirit Award by World Rowing for her fundraising work for Médecins Sans Frontières following the most recent hurricane in Haiti. Together with other students, Olusanya organised a charity row and a range of other activities to raise money for the relief effort. The Filippi Spirit Award is open to university rowers worldwide and honours those who have demonstrated the core values of rowing in his/her social, academic and sporting life. The award recognises a university rower that has enabled or inspired success in other people’s lives and the prize is a new Filippi eight for the winner’s boat club.
Olusanya, known as Seun, attended Dartford Grammar School for Girls, Kent where she swam competitively at both county and national level. Inspired by the television coverage of rowing at the London 2012 Olympics and looking for a new challenge, Olusanya started rowing at Exeter University in September 2013, where she is studying for a degree in medicine.
“Watching the rowing on TV in the 2012 Olympics inspired me to take up the sport but my role models were the girls at the top end of the university squad when I started at Exeter. Many of them don’t row anymore but at the time a lot of them were trialling for FISU and U23 places. Girls like Jess Elkington and Hannah Traylen who won gold at the European University Championships in 2015. They had really such a good attitude with regards to uni and studying and rowing and I just wanted to be like them”.
Now 24 years old and President of the EUBC, Olusanya has ambitions to make the senior GB team. “Last year’s highlight was qualifying for Henley Royal Regatta with Isabel Lingard, also of Exeter University and a former Headington School sculler, in the W2x. But this year, I have been spending a bit of time in my single, based on the feedback I got from Final Assessments last year. So we will see how I have progressed but I am aiming to be selected for FISU and, ultimately World Championships if the squad will have me!”
This year, despite illness, Olusanya did well enough at First Assessment in November to get invited back to the second in February. “I am excited for trials in February as I feel my sculling has improved since then so I think it’s just about being confident now”.
“At Exeter, we could really do with a new eight. The boat club does really well given the resources we have but we would really benefit from the extra support. In the squad we have two girls who went to the World Championships last year; Susannah Duncan who went to the U23 World Championships in the LW4x and Danielle Semple who’s currently a first year, and went to the Junior World Championships last year in the JW4x. At the top end, we have girls who qualified for Henley Women’s Regatta last year and, in 2018, we’re building on the overall depth and breadth of our squad. Exeter University Boat Club, run by coach Richard Tinkler, is growing year on year so we’re definitely up and coming – this year we have about 35/40 active member in the senior squad and around 40 in our novice squad”.
The Filippi Spirit Award is judged by a panel including FISA President, Jean-Christophe Rolland, Olympic Champions, Mahe Drysdale and Lenka Dienstbach-Wech and CEO of Filippi Boats, David Filippi.
- Rain de Jager (South Africa)
- Vladimir Gluhovic (Serbia)
- Seun Olusanya (Great Britain)
- Mzwandile Sotsaka (South Africa)
- Micheen Thornycroft (Zimbabwe)
The winner is due to be announced on February 9, 2018.
EUBC training camp in Tilburg, NL 2017