Wells inspire rowing youngsters
Last updated at 11:58, Monday, 13 August 2012
MATT Wells may not have earned a medal at London 2012, but his Olympic journey has inspired a generation.
As the 33-year-old brought his successful international career to an end with a London 2012 final, members of his former club Queen Elizabeth High School spoke of their admiration of him.
Young rowers past and present gathered at Tynedale Golf Club on Friday to watch the action unfold.
Although he missed out on a medal this time, members of QEHS club still reflected on a glorious career.
Current boys’ captain Tom Nixon said: “It is great to say that Matt has come from a small club in the North-East and we are lucky to have such a successful rower to look up to. To be at the club he started from is great and it makes us think that this could be the start of our Olympic journey.
“It always feels like Matt believes he has achieved what he has because of QEHS, and he wants somebody from the club to follow in his Olympic footsteps. That gives us all the motivation to succeed.”
Girls’ captain Marie McLoughlin said: “We feel like QEHS is always improving as a club and we achieved national medals this year, and seeing Matt do so well gives you that push to achieve your dream.”
Since taking up rowing at Queen Elizabeth as a teenager, Matt has become of the best rowers in the world.
Along the way, he has picked up gold medals in the world junior championships and the world U23 championships, as well as a silver and bronze in the senior world championships.
But his biggest honour came four years ago, winning a bronze medal alongside Steve Rowbotham in the double sculls at the Beijing Olympics.
QEHS coach Pauline Higgins said: “The pride we have for Matt is indescribable and, in fact, we couldn’t be more proud.
“He has reached the pinnacle by appearing at four Olympic Games and it is just a shame that he didn’t get another medal, but I don’t think he could have given any more.
“There is a mixture of emotions because he has done extremely well to get to the final, which we didn’t think would happen a few months ago, but we are upset for him that he didn’t get a medal which he worked so hard for.”
First published at 09:05, Monday, 13 August 2012
Published by http://www.hexhamcourant.co.uk