Rhian’s epic journey from sporting novice to world championship bronze in just over 12 months ...
Rhian Rudkin has stormed her way onto the indoor rowing scene over the past 12 months.
And last weekend the 31-year-old, from Portsmouth, won bronze at the World Indoor rowing championships in Paris.
This follows her recent success in the European Championships where she won gold in the 500m sprint with a personal best time of 1:33.8.
Competing head to head with athletes from rowing teams all over the world, Rudkin finished just six seconds behind Ukrainian Olympic rower Olena Buryak to claim her world championship bronze in a time of 1:34.5.
She only started her indoor rowing journey back in November 2018 alongside her partner, international discus thrower Chris Scott.
The pair became hooked on the sport after completing rowing challenges at their local gym.
They decided to enter the Welsh Indoor rowing championships and both won gold in their first competitive outing.
Indoor rowing is an established sport in its own right, and competitors use the Concept 2 rowing machine - often called an ergometer - to compete in a ‘virtual’ race environment.
Competitions are traditionally dominated by elite on-water rowers and famous athletes such as Sir Steve Redgrave have won past editions of the World Indoor rowing championships.
Rudkin said: ‘I had seen the start list for the competition and knew I was up against some incredible athletes which made me really nervous!
‘But I had trained hard for this and all I could do was go in and do my best.
‘I have a brilliant coach (Daryl Green of DG coaching) who I put my trust in.
Rudkin, who works full time for jewellery designer Barbara Tipple, trains eight times a week at ‘The Box’ CrossFit gym in Portsmouth and her sessions include rowing as well as weight training and conditioning.
“Sometimes it’s quite full on juggling training alongside work.
‘My competitors are full time athletes and rowing is essentially their job, so I feel proud of my achievements considering my hectic timetable.’