Watkins sprints to bronze in Cyprus

Joshua Watkins, right, celebrates his bronze medal placing at the Beach Sprint event in Cyprus Picture: JERSEY ROWING CLUB (37962165)

JERSEY’S promising rowing star Joshua Watkins took to the Malindi beach in Limassol, Cyprus, andreturned with a bronze medal round his neck in the men’s singles event.

Watkins, aged 24, won the ‘B’ final at the 2024 International Coastal Rowing Beach Sprints LNC Competition, clocking a time of 3mins 12.26secs.

That earned him third overall, behind two competitors in the ‘A’ final, while also grabbing fourth in the mixed doubles event.

The former Victoria College student said: “We thought it would be a good competition for me to enter.

“Myself and Sarah Earles – part of the ‘Girls That Row’ women’s quad – thought it would give us good exposure to the international scene early in the season and take valuable information back to the Jersey Rowing Club.”

Watkins was due to compete in the mixed doubles event with Earles. However, a last-minute complication meant she was unable to attend and he was paired with first-time partner, Tabea Minichmayer, instead.

“It was a shame Sarah was unable to make it, but Tabea proved an excellent partner and we gelled really quickly,” added Watkins.

“We got second in the first time trial and placed fourth overall after a tough semi-final and B-final, which I think was an excellent effort for the first time we rowed together.”

But it was in the men’s singles where the Jerseyman shone brightest in the Cyprus sunshine. Watkins secured the fastest time of the day in the quarter-final stage, before snatching a bronze medal in the final.

“I was delighted to first secure the fastest time, then to deliver in the final,” he continued.

“Conditions were really tough and we all had difficulties with our equipment throughout the contest. I personally struggled when my seat came off, which was a bit annoying.

“But I was able to carry on and battle through, which I was very happy with.”

Competing in a varied field, from débutantes to Olympic gold medallists, Watkins believed the rough conditions levelled the playing field.

“The conditions definitely played a key role in the outcomes,” he continued.

“Although it may have looked fairly clear on paper who would take the medals, the conditions brought everyone into the conversation, which I think made the event that bit more exciting.”

As a promising member of the Jersey Rowing Club, Watkins has been part of their excellent initiative “Project Gold” since 2022 – the brainchild of Rick Rouille and the JRC committee, aiming at giving their athletes top quality training and opportunities to compete around the world and push for the elite level of the sport.

“Rick [Rouille] has been great at developing a consistent and effective training program for us Jersey rowers,” Watkins added.

“Not just me though, we have others, with the likes of James Hart, who also just came back from the English Beach Sprints and taking part in the first GB trials.

“This has meant we have been able to develop a friendly rivalry between us two during training, which no doubt has made us faster and more confident rowers.

“Having the ability to go all round Europe competing in the Coastal European and World Championships, Namibia for the Commonwealth Beach Sprints Championship and now Cyprus, has made me extremely grateful for the people around the Jersey Rowing Club who make it possible to train and help us all get to the events.

“Since the British Offshore Championships will be held in Jersey this year at St Aubin’s Bay in early June, my training will be focused on the men’s singles and the mixed quad event, for which we are aiming to win gold again for the second year in a row.

“As well as that, we are also looking to compete in the European Coastal Championships in Gdansk, Poland, and the World Championships in Genoa, Italy.

“It’s an incredibly exciting time for us all and having secured a good result early in the season, I’m feeling really confident and am looking forward to the next challenge.”

– Advertisement –
– Advertisement –