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20 June 2016 | in Summer Universiade, World University Championships, Rowing

SA Champ counts on Universiade Experience

 

SOUTH AFRICA - For 21-year-old South African rower Bradley Betts, last year’s Summer Universiade in Gwangju was not only an eye-opening experience, but a stepping stone to greater things.

Betts’ love for rowing started eight years ago after he was invited to attend a rowing camp in his seaside hometown of Port Alfred in South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province. The oars soon became an extension of the keen youngster’s arms, who continued the sport through High School and into his gap year, where he was part of the London Youth Rowing set-up in England’s capital.

Now in his second year studying BComm Accounting at Rhodes University, Betts has enjoyed a stellar last 12 months in the sport, winning both the double and 4’s South African University Championships, while also taking gold at this year’s provincial and national Senior Championships.

This, of course, amounts to a lot of hard work.

“The training for rowing is always though, wherever you go,” he says. “It has been particularly hard this year as I have set my goals high to make the U-23 SA team. I train every day twice a day and sometimes up to three times a day, between 2-3 hours per session.”

Betts was selected in the 4’s boat that represented the country at the 2015 Summer Universiade in Korea, and although the South African team were unable to secure a podium finish, the talented rower has ensured the experience gained at the world student spectacle will spur him onto greater things.

“The Universiade in Korea was amazing and it was my first experience rowing internationally,” he said. “The competition was extremely though and crews were very fast. It really opened my eyes to the international rowing world. We didn’t do too great, but if anything it motivated me to train even harder to come back and win!”

The determined sportsman already has his sights set on two major upcoming international events as he look set to realise is dream, having been confirmed as one of just seven South African rowers taking part in August’s World Championships in the Netherlands.

“My motivation is my goal of rowing internationally,” he said. “I am competing in Rotterdam in August at the U-23 World Champs and also possibly in Poland for the World University Championship as well.”

With his stellar performance at national level definitely not going unnoticed, there is little doubt Betts will soon be making waves on the international scene.

 

Fabio De Dominicis, U-Media Reporter RSA

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