Birthdate2 Jan 1997
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Rising Star – April 2019
World under-23 champion Charles Brittain resisted rowing at first but was almost destined to take up the sport – alongside five other family members. The 22-year-old, from South Africa, won his first world gold medal last year in the men’s pair and tells us this is just the beginning.
Winning gold at the World Under 23 Rowing Championships… gives me a new level of confidence that I have never had before - that the training I am doing is working and that I have the ability to reach bigger and better goals in the sport.
I’m from a rowing family… I have three older brothers who have all rowed. My oldest two brothers, Matthew and Lawrence, have an Olympic gold and silver respectively. My next brother, James, has also rowed at an international level as has my dad in his time. To cap it all off my mum is the team doctor for South Africa Rowing. So, in my family of six everyone has their national colours for rowing.
I took up rowing because… I guess you could say it runs in the family and I thought I should at least give it a go.
During junior school I never wanted to row… until Lawrence (Brittain - older brother) won South Africa’s first gold medal in rowing at the 2010 World under23 Champs. Add that to the two silvers Matt (Brittain- older brother) already had and I thought I should see what it was like to at least sit in a boat. After I did that I was sold.
I am a student so the international off-season is... a good time to catch up on some university work. Also, to get involved in some of the local university racing which is always a lot of fun. The best is the universities boat race where university Tuks (University of Pretoria) took its tenth consecutive win!
We have a centralised system so training is… done all together in Pretoria where we row on Roodeplaat dam. It’s an awesome place to train – it’s very warm and generally flat!
In our pair… James [Mitchell] and I have always gotten along together well. It was always very easy on and off the water without too many arguments - not to say there weren’t any! In the bow seat I was in charge of the calling so the leadership role came quite naturally with that dynamic.
I see this year as… a building block for next year. As a younger athlete, the biggest thing I need is to get some more consistent training and hopefully, if all goes well, I will get an opportunity to get into one of the senior boats. To sum it up, my goals have definitely moved from the under 23 stage.
I am looking forward to… some more international races and building experience on the world stage as I line up against some of the best in the world.
For most rowers the Olympic podium is… the pinnacle of our sport and I am no different. It is my dream to stand on an Olympic podium. A smaller goal that has always appealed to me is being a world record holder. The idea of going faster than anyone else ever has is quite a nice thought!
When I’m not rowing I… do my best to catch up on some varsity and some of the student social life that doesn’t mix well with the fulltime athlete lifestyle.
Relaxing does not come easy to me… but usually some TV or reading takes my mind off whatever is stressing me out at the time.
For fun… as you can imagine, my family is pretty active so we usually have fun water skiing, mountain biking - and sometimes a round of golf makes the cut. If I can squeeze in some PlayStation that also does the trick!