Sir Roger Bannister meets record-breaking student Montell Douglas at Brunel University degree ceremony
Sir Roger, 79, originally from Harrow, North-West London, received the honorary degree of Doctor of the University at Brunel's Indoor Athletics Centre at the campus in Uxbridge, at the students' graduation ceremony.
The award was perfectly timed, as Brunel University sports science student Montell Douglas, 22 - who also graduates today - was doubly celebrating, having set the new UK women's 100 metres record at the Loughborough European Athletics Permit meeting, yesterday afternoon, earning her place in the individual event at Beijing.
The pair met after the ceremony where Sir Roger, of Bardwell Road, Oxford, received his honorary degree, and Montell, her degree certificate. He told her that he was following her career.
“I shall be watching your performance in Beijing with great interest,“ he told her.
Montell, from Bromley, South-East London, when asked what it was like to meet Sir Roger, remarked,“ It's like, wow, amazing.“
Montell broke Kathy Cook's 27 year old 100m record in Loughborough yesterday, shaving 0.05 seconds of the previous record of 11.10 secs, with a new record of 11.05 secs.
Her place at the Beijing Olympics in the individual event is now sealed. She has already been selected in the 4 x 100m relay team. The GB 2008 Olympic squad will be announced tomorrow.
Speaking about her stunning performance Montell said, “It's given me a massive amount of confidence. It was now or never - I had to prove myself. It feels surreal and I can't even comprehend it.“
Sir Roger crossed the finish line at Iffley Road Track in Oxford, in three minutes and 59.4 seconds on May 6, 1954. He had also set a British record of 3:46:30 in the 1500m final at the 1952 Helsinki Olympic Games.
Brunel Pro Vice Chancellor Ian Campbell, co-leader of Brunel's Olympic programme commented: "We are delighted that Montell has achieved this fabulous result and for it to come in the week of her graduation is very special indeed; a testament to the dedication that she has shown in both her studies in Sport Sciences and in her training at Brunel.
His co-leader Neil Young, added: “Today the University was already planning to honour one record breaker, Sir Roger Bannister, with an Honorary degree so it is fantastic that instead we are honouring two. The whole University is immensely proud and wishes her and her team mates every success in Beijing.“