Murray goes from novice to medal winner in just a few weeks

A local teenager whose first sporting love, rugby, has been disrupted this season, turned to a new sport a few weeks ago and has already become a British medal-winner.

Tuesday, 8th December 2020, 3:33 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th December 2020, 11:18 am
Murray Oliver during his medal winning row

Murray Oliver. an S4 Balwearie High School pupil, took to indoor rowing at the local Strength Lab Crossfit gym and, under the tutelage of coach Huw Davis, his technique on the rowing machine developed quickly.

Tha t prompted Davis and fellow coach Jamie Strebor to encourage him to enter the Scottish indoor c hampionships last month.

No one was more surprised than the 15-year-old when he topped the winners’ list in the 2,000m event in the under-16 category.

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Hours of heavy training under Davis’s guidance and strict dieting prepared him for the British championships, held virtually last Sunday – a much bigger event than the Scottish ones, attracting a worldwide field for the six-minute time trial.

Competitors came from as far afield as Australia and South Africa, as well as a host of European countries.

Adam Holland, of the Scots College in Adelaide, was a clear winner and Murray had a three-way battle with Pedro Rodrigues from Portugal and English boy Lucas Bowes before edging into silver medal place in the last few metres.

After his exhausting six minutes, Murray recovered sufficiently to thank coach Davis and everyone at Strength Lab Crossfit.

“Their support today was amazing with everybody in the gym cheering me on, especially in the last minute or so when it was really tough," he said.

“I would never have dreamt three weeks ago when I began training that I would win the Scottish championships and be runner-up in the British ones.

“I also want to thank Caitlin McAleese, the physio, for keeping my body in one piece and to Jamie Strebor for getting me involved in indoor rowing and then on to the Scottish championships. They were terrific.”

Within a few hours of winning his medal in the British event, Murray had an offer from a Scottish rowing club.

He says he doesn’t think rowing will take over from rugby, though, as that runs in the family, dad Stuart being a former player and now a board member at Kirkcaldy Rugby Club. Murray added that he is also keen on tennis and throwing the discus.