Monica Relph brought to a close a summer of achievement for the rowing Relph sisters of Weston Turville as a member of the GB crew who snatched a bronze medal at the European Rowing Championships in Varese, Italy.
The result comes hot on the heels of her sister Pamela’s gold medal in the Paralympic Rowing regatta at Eton Dorney earlier this month.
Monica’s crew was composed of GB Development Squad athletes who are expected to make an impact in the sport over the coming years, in the build-up to the Rio Olympic Games in 2016.
The Romanian eight, who came fourth in the Olympics, claimed first place by more than 10 seconds from Italy.
“That was the hardest thing I have done in my whole life,” said Relph immediately after the race.
“We knew Romania would be out of sight but we were definitely in the mix for the other medals. We just had to be incredibly tough both mentally and physically.”
The achievement was all the more encouraging as two of the crew were doubling up in the eight, having raced in the pairs final only a few hours earlier.
“I think that says a lot for the determination of this crew. Personally I have had a frustrating season having not made the Olympics, but this was a chance to come away with a medal from a major regatta this season and none of us wanted to miss out on that.”
“I’m still young and have still got lots of improvement to come and it’s a result like this that gives me the confidence to go into hard winter training and the long road to Rio in 2016, knowing I can perform on a big stage.”
And as to how she feels about matching her sister’s medal tally for the season?
“I am so proud of Pam and what she has achieved in her rowing career, but I’ve got to retain bragging rights somehow in the family when it comes to getting on the podium at major Championships!” she added.