Seun Feature

Seun Olusanya (second from left) representing Exeter University Boat Club during the annual Henley Regatta.

Seun Olusanya shortlisted for the Filippi Spirit Award by World Rowing

The Filippi Spirit Award is open to university rowers worldwide and honours those who have demonstrated the core values of rowing in their 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 - 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”.

This year Seun was awarded a sports scholarship and has ambitions to make the senior GB team. “Last year’s highlight was qualifying for Henley Royal Regatta with fellow EUBC member Isabel Lingard 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 my aim is 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”.

This year’s EUBC squad also includes fellow sports scholars Susannah Duncan and Danielle Semple. Susannah rowed at the U23 World Championships in the LW4x  and Danielle, a current first year, was selected for Junior World Championships in the JW4x. The boat club does really well given the resources we have but the Boat Club would really benefit from access to an additional eight.

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.

The Finalists:

Seun Olusanya (Great Britain)

Rain de Jager (South Africa)

Vladimir Gluhovic (Serbia)

Mzwandile Sotsaka (South Africa)

Micheen Thornycroft (Zimbabwe)

The winner is due to be announced on February 9, 2018.

Date: 30 January 2018

Read more University News