Top medals for Ely rowing trio

A TRIO of Isle of Ely Rowing Club scullers came away with medals from the British Rowing Championships held at the National Watersports Centre in Nottingham at the weekend.

Adam Hughes and Harriet Eldred came away with a silver and bronze medal respectively while Dan Clift picked up a gold after powering his way past a talented field.

Isle of Ely Rowing Club chairman Derek Pickersgill said, “It’s been a great weekend for the club. It takes a huge amount of training and dedication to be able to compete at this level and to come away with gold, silver and bronze medals is something to be celebrated.”

In his under 23 final, Dan Clift had to battle hard against a strong field to come home in first place. Clift, who is coached by GB Rowing coach Peter Lee, is based at the Isle of Ely Rowing Club where he trains with a squad of young talented athletes.

Having successfully progressed through qualifying time trials and a semi final, Clift lined up in the final against five other scullers from around the country. Early in the race he comfortably moved through the field to lead by two boat lengths with 500m left to race.

In the closing stages Clift caught his blade in a wave and ground to a halt, allowing two scullers from Reading University and Durham University to close him down as he struggled to regain control.

Into the final 100m Clift still led but only by a few feet and he had to grit his teeth right the way to the line to be crowned national champion.

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In the J17 single scull category, Adam Hughes, who has raced for the Isle of Ely Club since he first started sculling at the age of 14, sculled well in the notoriously windy and rough conditions on the multi-lane Nottingham course to seize a silver medal. Hughes won his semi-final race in a time of 9 mins 36 secs, 5.14 seconds ahead of the second placed sculler from Thames Rowing Club. In the final Hughes was just two seconds behind the eventual winner from Poplar and Blackwell District Rowing Club.

For the women, Harriet Eldred, who joined the Isle of Ely Rowing Club earlier this year, competed in the women’s lightweight single sculling event. Successfully obtaining a place in the final, Eldred came third in a widely spread field of scullers, crossing the finishing line in a time of 9 mins and 41 secs, behind opponents from Molesey Boat Club and Nottingham Rowing Club who won gold and silver respectively.

On the strength of her performance at Nottingham, Eldred had been selected to represent England as the lightweight women’s sculler in the Home Countries championships.