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UEL sports scholar wins gold in World Cup rowing regatta

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Callum McBrierty helps GB's coxless four to win at World Cup regatta in Belgrade 

University of East London (UEL) sports scholar Callum McBrierty helped Britain to top the medals table at the World Cup regatta in Belgrade last weekend when he won gold in the men’s coxless four.

The 24-year-old structural engineering student had originally been due to compete in the men’s eight but was promoted to the four – the lead GB men’s boat – due to an injury to one of the crew.

He and his team-mates lived up to their star billing by winning gold as Britain finished the regatta as the top nation with 11 medals in total.

Callum was delighted to strike gold in the opening World Cup regatta of the season but insisted there was plenty of room for improvement.

“It’s great to get the win but we ended up having a pretty poor row, if I’m honest,” he said.

“Being in the lead boat, there is always pressure on us to win and even now, having won commentators, are saying that we didn’t win as convincingly as we should’ve done.”

Callum, who won gold in the non-Olympic coxed pair at last summer’s World Championships, said the experience of being in the lead boat was a big incentive to achieve further success this summer.

“The experience has made me even hungrier to keep training hard and pushing myself on to be a better athlete in pursuit of chasing an Olympic gold medal.

“This season I want to stay in winning form, ultimately building to retaining my world title in an Olympic boat class at the World Championships in the summer. The World Cup series is a stepping stone towards that.”

Callum, who is originally from Edinburgh, took up rowing at secondary school and although initially disliked the sport, he soon caught the bug, going onto win a silver medal at the Junior World Championships. He is now part of UEL’s Sports Scholarship programme that offers elite athletes flexibility in their course studies to accommodate training and also provides expert support in areas such as strength and conditioning, physiotherapy, massage, psychology and nutrition.