Isle of Ely rowers have one eye on spot at Rio Olympics
09:26 06 August 2014
Dan Clift and John Hale, members of the Isle of Ely Rowing Club, will be representing England in the Commonwealth rowing regatta this weekend.
The regatta, which takes place in Strathclyde Park, Motherwell, is an opportunity for rowers to show their versatility, as each rower needs to be able to compete in both sweep-oar and sculling events.
Clift is part of the GB Rowing Team Start Programme at the Isle of Ely club, run by GB coach Peter Lee, and is rowing in the open men’s competition along with Robbie Massey and Tom Barras.
Hailing from Torpoint, Cornwall, Clift’s talent for rowing was spotted in January 2010 through the UK Sport ‘Tall and Talented’ scheme and Clift is aiming for a place in the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
He said: “It’s really good that I’ve found something I’m good enough to do something special with. Not everybody gets that chance.”
Hale, who learnt to row at the City of Cambridge rowing club as a junior, has rowed for several Cambridge clubs and for the Cambridge University men’s lightweight crew, before joining Isle of Ely to further his GB rowing ambitions.
He said: “It’s great to have the chance to represent England at the Commonwealths and it’s also a great stepping stone to the British senior team in the future.”
Hale, along with Matthew Bedford (University of London Boat Club) and Nick Buckle (Leander) make up the lightweight group at the Commonwealth regatta.
Sponsorship has been key to both men achieving their current successes. Hale is supported by Cambridge Consultants, for whom he works, and Clift is a recipient of an award from The Lord Lieutenant’s Fund for Youth, a Cornish organization that supports exceptional ability in a number of disciplines. Both men hope that their participation in the Commonwealth Regatta is one further step along the road to Rio.