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College alumna gets MBE for world-class canoeing

Posted on 14/01/2010

Anna Hemmings

Royal Holloway, University of London graduate and world champion canoeist, Anna Hemmings, has been awarded an MBE in the 2010 New Year′s Honours, for her services to sport.

Anna, who graduated with a degree in Economics and Management in 2001 and was made an Honorary Fellow of the College in 2007, described the award as a tremendous honour and said, “It’s amazing to see my name alongside so many sporting greats and that my achievements in a lesser known sport have been recognised. I can′t wait to receive the MBE from Buckingham Palace later this year.”

While studying at Royal Holloway, Anna was supported by the Student Talented Athlete Recognition Scheme (STARS), which was established in 1996 to provide bursaries and academic support to assist student elite athletes during their studies and has so far supported four Olympians and Paralympians and more than 60 athletes with world and national rankings.

Anna first broke into the top flight of the sport in 1997 when, at the age of just 20, she won the European Championship. In 1999 she successfully defended her European crown, before going on to win the Marathon World Championships – becoming the youngest ever competitor to do so. She also became the first ever British female canoeist to win both European and World titles.

She participated in the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000 where she competed in the 500m singles discipline. The following year Anna really made her mark at the Marathon Canoeing World Championship when she became only the second person in the history of the sport to win both the singles and the doubles Marathon World titles.

The six-time world marathon canoe champion quit the sport in April 2009 after a glittering career, despite missing two years through illness. Anna was struck down with chronic fatigue syndrome in April 2003 and was sidelined for two years, leaving her to question her future in a sport she first took up as an eight-year-old. But she battled back to win marathon World Championship gold in 2005 - successfully defending her title twice more in 2006 and 2007.

Anna has won a total of 11 World and European Championship medals, nine of them being gold.

Over the last few years Anna has developed a new career of motivational speaking alongside her sporting one – and is now sharing her experiences and knowledge with a wide range of audiences ranging from CEOs and business delegates from global companies to school children and has had enormous success in inspiring, motivating and maximising the potential of a wide spectrum of individuals.

For further information about the STARS scheme, please visit: http://www.rhul.ac.uk/sports/sport-bursaries-stars.html


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