Fam­ily gives in­spi­ra­tion

Auckland City Harbour News - - SPORT - By TOM CARNEGIE

Ben Watkin­son is fol­low­ing in the wake of his great un­cle, who rowed for New Zealand at two Olympic games.

Watkin­son lives in Cox’s Bay and at­tends Dil­worth school.

He was the gold medal win­ner of the un­der-18 sin­gle sculls at the Maadi Cup held ear­lier this month in Twizel.

Fol­low­ing that win, Watkin­son was asked to trial for the New Zealand Ju­nior row­ing squad at Lake Kara­piro this week.

Dil­worth School stopped its row­ing pro­gramme two years ago but Watkin­son was determined to con­tinue and joined West End Row­ing Club.

He had suc­cess ear­lier this year for his club, win­ning gold at the North Is­land club champs in Fe­bru­ary. Com­pet­ing at Maadi was still at the top of his list, so he ap­proached his school for sup­port.

‘‘Af­ter the club sea­son fin­ished, I asked my school if I could rep­re­sent it at Maadi Cup and they were more than happy for me to,’’ the 17-year-old says.

As he was the only rower from his school, Watkin­son went with the Saint Peters Col­lege team.

Watkin­son says he takes in­spi­ra­tion from his great un­cle Mur­ray Watkin­son, who rep­re­sented New Zealand at both the 1964 and 1972 Olympic games, where he placed fifth and tenth re­spec­tively. Mur­ray Watkin­son also trained at West End Row­ing. He had ma­jor suc­cess at the 1962 Bri­tish Em­pire and Com­mon­wealth Games where he won a sil­ver medal, and at the 1971 Euro­pean cham­pion- ships where he won bronze.

Ben Watkin­son has been of­fered schol­ar­ships to both Har­vard and Yale uni­ver­si­ties in the United States next year.

He is con­sid­er­ing both of­fers but would like to try his luck for the New Zealand elite devel­op­ment pro­gramme.

‘‘While the schol­ar­ships would be great, the pro­gramme of­fers a path­way for ju­nior ath­letes to have the best shot at fu­ture suc­cess in their sport,’’ he says.

If he does take up a schol­ar­ship, he plans to study ei­ther graphic or prod­uct de­sign.

Above, Ben Watkin­son cel­e­brates win­ning the un­der-18 sin­gle sculls at the 2015 Maadi Cup.


Left, Ben Watkin­son, who at­tends Dil­worth school, with his coach Lloyd Ban­ton.

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