Just three weeks ago, Nelson rower Luke Brady thought he’d blown his chance at national selection.
After missing a medal at the Maadi Cup and expecting to miss out on a New Zealand Junior trial he’d had on the radar for the past six months, the Year 13 Nelson College pupil had set his sights on playing schoolboy rugby for one final winter.
However, last Thursday he celebrated making the New Zealand junior rowing team for the World Championships in Lithuania in the junior men’s quad, after making the most of an opportunity he wasn’t expecting.
However, the 197cm tall rower did enough to earn a trial and the rest, as they say, is history. “It’s a pretty unreal feeling – certainly something I wanted at the start of the season but I didn’t think I did enough after (Maadi).
“Sitting there after Maadi was pretty gutting.
“To train for six months and not get the results I was after was disappointing, but it goes to show there’s always another chance around the corner.
“Gran was the first person I called and she broke down, and then Mum broke down and Dad said he was off to have a celebratory beer.”
Luke will be on a Rowing New Zealand training programme for the next five weeks before he heads to Lake Karapiro in Cambridge to train with his New Zealand crew.
Luke started rowing as a Year 10 pupil at Nelson College after watching his older brother Joseph at regattas.
“I looked at it and thought it would be a lot of fun,” he says. “I don’t think it came naturally to me, I was just a lanky kid to start but once the body caught up it’s all come right.”
Luke was looking to emulate his older brother who won gold in the Under-18 double at the Maadi Cup, but Luke had to settle for fourth.
Luke now has the prospect of 12 months rowing and he wants to thank Nelson College head coach Kaye Surgenor and the boys he trained with, as he knows he couldn’t have done it without their help.
All up, the training and competing will cost Luke $9700 and ways of funding it are being looked into.
The Junior World Championships run from August 2 to 6 with a large group of young rowers eager to continue the success the country has had in the sport.