A UNIVERSITY of Worcester student has had to withdraw from the forthcoming World Rowing Under 23 Championships in the Czech Republic because of contact tracing.
Sarah Ferris, 21, was due to fly out with the Great Britain team in the next few days but discovered that one of the coaches of someone she had been staying with had tested positive for coronavirus.
Although she had not herself come in to contact with this person, it meant she was not able to travel with the squad and will miss out.
“Honestly, I’m heart-broken,” admitted Ferris.
“I was so excited to be selected after working so hard towards this moment for three years, and to have all that taken away just before we were due to fly out is very hard to take.”
“Losing out because of a contact of a contact, not even someone I’d met myself, I hadn’t heard of that before and it makes it particularly hard to take.”
Although she is no longer able to travel with the British squad, her selection is still officially recognised and she can derive a huge amount of pride from having made it from novice to international athlete in just 3 years at university.
Ferris, from Belfast, only took up rowing when she moved to Worcester to pursue her dream of becoming a physiotherapist, admitted that it is incredible to think about how events have unfolded.
“Originally I joined the rowing club at the Uni because I was looking for a sporting opportunity to keep me busy. I’d never been in a boat before,” she added.
“At first, I was very wobbly on the water, and I think I frustrated my coach because all I’d say is that I didn’t want to fall in!”
Having come so far in such a short space of time and having worked so hard to reach the dizzy heights of international selection, Ferris is understandably devastated to have missed out at the 11th hour because of complications beyond her control.
“If I had failed for some reason that would be easier to take,” she said.
“But this feels really tough because it was all taken out of my hands and I was powerless to do anything about it.
“As for next steps, I’m obviously not sure at the moment. I need to go home to Belfast and think everything through.
“There are European Championships in rowing later in the summer, and I have received an offer to row with Leander Club next year, so now I need to think about if I want to really commit to the rowing and try and push for selection for the senior GB squad in the future.”