Christ Church student competes at European Universities Games

Christ Church student Naomi Holland was among a team of 7 rowers representing the University of Oxford – and Great Britain – at the European Universities Games 2018 in Coimbra this July.

The European Universities Games is a multisport event involving 4000 athletes from European universities, taking place every two years and hosted in a different European city each time. Competitions are held in 13 sports as part of the games, and alongside the sports competitions the games also focus on educational and social aspects of university sport in Europe, featuring conferences and workshops on a variety of topics.

Naomi, studying for a DPhil in Physics, joined Somerville College student Amanda Thomas, studying for an MPhil in Linguistics, rowing in the Women’s Lightweight Double Sculls. Both students row with Oxford University Lightweight Women’s Rowing Club, and in March competed in the Henley Boat Races as part of the Tethys (reserve) coxed four, which was the only Oxford crew to beat Cambridge this year. In May they finished fourth in a very competitive field in the Lightweight Double Sculls at the British Universities rowing championships (BUCS), in doing so qualifying to represent Oxford and Great Britain at the European Universities Games as part of a British Universities squad of 106 rowers and 18 coaches from 13 universities.

After coming third in their heat, Naomi and Amanda raced in the repêchage the next day, coming second and earning a place in the A Final for women’s lightweight doubles. After a closely fought race they finished fourth overall – a great achievement against some tough opposition.

Naomi said, ‘It was an incredible opportunity to get to race crews from all across Europe – the competition was strong, and really pushed us to our absolute limits. We had no expectations going into this – honestly I was still finding it hard to believe it was even happening – so it was an amazing feeling to come away with a 4th place finish!’. Amanda added, ‘It was an amazing experience to compete at the European Universities Games and to race against crews from so many different countries. The scale of the event was huge and the atmosphere was really exciting. I’m so grateful that Naomi and I had this opportunity, and I’m looking forward to taking what I learnt with me as I continue in my rowing’.

Congratulations to both Naomi and Amanda for their outstanding achievements!