Forced to train in an attic but rowing duo go on to win all their summer regattas (From Bournemouth Echo)
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Forced to train in an attic but rowing duo go on to win all their summer regattas
A PAIR of rowers forced to train in an attic after the council made their club homeless have won every one of their races this summer.
Leigh Darlow and Ali Esinduy are part of the Westover and Bournemouth Rowing Club, formerly based on the West Undercliff promenade.
The club had rented the headquarters for 150 years for just £32.50 per annum, but in 2011, the council announced it was considering expanding the neighbouring Oceanarium.
Members have trained at Bournemouth Bowls Club and the Hengistbury Head Outdoor Centre ever since, but despite their unconventional surroundings, are still excelling in regional regattas.
Leigh, a web designer who lives in Wimborne, said: “We are trying to get together the funding for a permanent new clubhouse on the seafront, but in the meantime we’ve all been training in the attic at the bowls club during the winter, or at the outdoor centre.
“Not having a permanent base does make things a lot harder, but we’re doing our best and training as hard as we can.”
Leigh, 26, and Ali, 33, train during the evenings up to five times a week.
“We’ve won all 10 of the regattas we’ve gone in for this summer,” said Leigh.
“It’s really fantastic. When we started racing again in May, we decided we’d like to have a shot at taking home every trophy. But on our last race, we really thought we’d blown it.
“We had a bad start and were about three boat lengths behind. But we ended up rowing past six other crews and eventually won it by quite a way, so that was a huge relief.”
The men decided to split their winning haul equally.
“We’ve got five trophies each, so it’s fair,” said Leigh. “I’ve just moved house, and we’ve had to put up a new shelf so there’s somewhere to put them all.”
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