Bottesford rower Callum Jones achieved every rower’s dream when he won a gold medal at Henley Royal Regatta over the weekend.
Eighteen-year-old former Belvoir High School pupil Callum was rowing in the bow seat of his Oxford Brookes University eight for the Temple Challenge Cup.
Thirty-two teams qualified for the first round of the head-to-head knockout competition, from an entry of 72 universities and colleges from around the world. The 32 qualifiers included seven boats from USA, four Dutch, a Canadian and a Japanese. A British boat had not reached the final since 2006.
In front of large Regatta crowds on successive days, Callum’s boat knocked out Newcastle University, Oxford Brookes ‘C’ and Durham University to set up a semi-final clash with Cornell University USA who were unbeaten in America this year. Callum’s eight defeated the Americans by half a length in a thrilling race, and in the fastest time of the week.
This pitted Callum’s Brookes team against another US boat – Brown University – who had disposed of Dutch boat Nereus in their semi-final.
Leading from the start over the 2,112-metre straight course on the River Thames, Callum and his team-mates powered on to win by two-and-three-quarter lengths and lifted the cup which was presented to the winning crew by Olympic yachting gold medallist Sir Ben Ainslie.