Perago Trust grant recipient Beckie Leigh gives us an update on her training and competition:
Hi everyone at Perago Trust
I just wanted to say a big thank you for the funding that you granted to me for the New Zealand Junior Rowing campaign and our trip to the Junior World Rowing Champs in Tokyo, Japan.
We had an 8-week training camp prior to our departure, where we trained at Lake Karapiro and went to school at St Peter's School part-time. We lived at Podium Lodge for the duration of the camp, across the road from St Peter's School, which provided a 'home' for 12 out of the 14 athletes in the team.
We left New Zealand on the 26th July, flying to Tokyo, Japan (11 hours) and then on to Osaka, Japan (45 mins).
We had just over 1 week in Osaka where we trained out of Seta Rowing Club. This gave us time to familiarise ourselves with the new equipment and get used to the big change in temperature (average of 38C + humidity). When racing began, we started with the heat, in which we finished 1st, meaning we progressed straight to the A/B semifinal and got two days off. Over these next two days we trained in the mornings before any racing starts.
On the Saturday we raced in our semi-final, where we tested our ability and came away with another win by working to keep control of the race.
The following day (Sunday) we raced in the A final, sitting in lane 4 with Germany in 5 and Romania in 3.
I have to say, I don’t think I have ever been more relaxed before a race in throughout rowing career.
It was a comforting feeling knowing that we had the strength to do what we wanted and just needed to execute it well. A good start to this race saw us in 2nd place coming through the first 500m mark.
This wasn’t going to be good enough for us, however, so a call was moved and we rowed through the German crew to sit comfortably in 1st place coming through the middle 1km mark. Having the confidence and belief that we could win this race and win it well kept us pushing to the end to get every ounce of speed out of ourselves.
Coming 1st at a Junior World Championships is an incredible feeling and something we are all very proud of. It is the first time we have won a gold medal in the Women’s Quad ever in New Zealand’s history, and a fact that made this even more special.
We all had a lot of pride when our flag was raised in the middle and the national anthem was played for us, it is something that will keep me in the sport for many years to come. This campaign was truly memorable and something that might not have been the same without your support so once again I would like to say a big thank you.