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UEL promises to ‘throw a party’ for Olympic judo star Gemma Gibbons

PUBLISHED: 10:21 03 August 2012 | UPDATED: 11:01 03 August 2012

Great Britain's Judo player Gemma Gibbons with her silver medal from the Women's 78kg Judo at the ExCel Arena, London, on the sixth day of the London 2012 Olympics. Picture by Julien Behal/PA Wire

Great Britain's Judo player Gemma Gibbons with her silver medal from the Women's 78kg Judo at the ExCel Arena, London, on the sixth day of the London 2012 Olympics. Picture by Julien Behal/PA Wire

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Ecstatic staff and students at the University of East London cheered Olympic judo star Gemma Gibbons on to her silver medal yesterday.

Great Britain team-mates Sally Conway and Gemma Howell cry with joy after watching Gemma Gibbons win beating France's Audrey Tcheumeo in the semi final. Pic by Empics SportGreat Britain team-mates Sally Conway and Gemma Howell cry with joy after watching Gemma Gibbons win beating France's Audrey Tcheumeo in the semi final. Pic by Empics Sport

The post-graduate exercise science and health student exceeded expectations to reach the final of the under-78kg contest at the ExCeL centre in Custom House.

The UEL’s Docklands campus was brought to a standstill as people stopped to watch her take on USA opponent Kayla Harrison. Despite holding her own, she missed out on the gold.

She mouthed “I love you, Mum” after the clash in tribute to her mother Jeanette, who died of leukaemia in 2004.

In a post on her Twitter page yesterday evening, Gemma wrote: “Can’t quite believe I’m an Olympic silver medallist, so happy.

“Thank you so much to everyone for your amazing messages, support has been unreal.”

UEL vice-chancellor, Professor Patrick McGhee said: “Gemma’s astonishing performance today is testament to her incredible skill and talent.

“At UEL, we’ve supported her and closely watched her progress over the years, but even we are gobsmacked by the sheer scale of her victory today, literally toppling giants.

“Needless to say, we’re all so proud of Gemma and I think we’ll have to throw a party very soon.”

Elizabeth Egan, high performance sports manager at UEL, added: “Her inclusion in the final was far more than we ever expected, so today marks a fantastic day for British Judo.”


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