GUERNSEY will be represented for the first time at the Commonwealth Rowing Regatta in Scotland.
Former Elizabeth College pupil Robert Hall and his Jersey-born pair partner Rufus Scholefield, both 20, will compete in the men’s pairs against England, Scotland, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Wales and Northern Ireland at the games in August.
Mr Hall, who is studying psychology at Edinburgh University, is confident that he and his partner could bring home a medal for the island.
‘I wouldn’t be flying all the way up to Scotland and back if I didn’t think we had a chance at winning. Rufus and I both fully believe we are capable of bringing Guernsey’s first Commonwealth Regatta medal home this August. It will come down to which crew is most prepared on race day, but for everyone who has supported us over this year we intend that crew to be us,’ he said.
‘We had the option of trialling to represent Scotland in the Commonwealths as well and were encouraged to do so, but as Channel Islanders we decided we would rather row for Guernsey instead. The Guernsey Rowing Club was happy for us to represent them given our past performances.’
Mr Hall is in the Edinburgh University top four and eight crews. He has won first place in the coxed fours, eights and pairs at multiple university and open events in Scotland this year and recently rowed in the British Universities final for the coxed fours.
The pair have a grueling training regime, training 12 times a week. They do five sessions on the water, two sessions of weights, one or two sessions of cardiovascular/circuit training and three to four sessions on rowing machines.
Mr Hall was a relative newcomer to competitive sport when he decided at university to give rowing a try.
‘I unfortunately never participated in any sports to a serious level in Guernsey as I never found one that really suited me. I spent some time swimming, playing rugby and fencing, but never to a competitive level’, he said.
‘I developed a passion for rowing and worked as hard as I could, going from the novices to the [Edinburgh] top four in less than a year. One of the best things about rowing is you get out what you put in.’
The pair are currently in the latter stages of trialling to represent Scotland in the Home International Regatta in Cork. They are also planning to take part in several events prior to the regatta, including the Scottish boat race and Henley Royal Regatta.
Mr Hall, said he was delighted when he received the backing of the Guernsey Rowing Club.
‘It was a great feeling to receive the message that Guernsey rowing would be supporting us, as well as when we were told that Scottish rowing would provide a boat and equipment for us. We had to drop out of Scottish Commonwealth selection in order to row for Guernsey so we took a risk and were so relieved that it paid off,’ he said.
‘We are currently the only Guernsey entrants, although I like to think of our coach Colin Williamson as our third team member as he’s done so much for us, including organising our entry, equipment and pre-event training regimen as well as for coaching us to be what we hope is the best pair Guernsey has to offer.’
Preparation for such events is costly and involves funding a two-week training camp prior to the event, food, facility rental, accommodation, transport of the men and their equipment and gym use.
Law firm AO Hall has agreed to sponsor the men.
‘AO Hall’s sponsorship has been essential in order for us to organise this preparation and we’d also like to thank Carey Olsen for their generosity in supporting us,’ said Mr Hall.
‘As for our rowing-related plans for the rest of the year, Rufus and I are hoping to trial for the GB Under 23 squad in November and hopefully put in a good enough performance at the British Championships and British indoors to be selected to attend final trials in the pairs.’