World Rowing met with Rosemary Singer and Kathleen Davies. Singer is Stephan Rowbotham’s grandmother and Davies is his great aunt. Rowbotham races in the British men’s quadruple sculls.

The grandmothers have been travelling to rowing events since 2005 where they got to see Rowbotham win a bronze medal at the World Rowing Cup in Lucerne, Switzerland. Since then they have  been traveling to watch Rowbotham whenever they get the opportunity.  Here in Bled Davies and Singer are watching Rowbotham compete in the men’s quadruple sculls.

There are four generations present in Bled as Rowbotham’s baby son is also present. Elliot, 3 and a half month old, is already a fan and wears his supporter’s T-shirt. 

Brtish supporters Rosemary Singer & Kathleen Davies at the 2011 World Rowing Championships in Bled, Slovenia.


World Rowing watched the men’s quad repechage along with the grandmothers. They were very stressed before the start, poised with start list and pen at the ready, the important races highlighted.

There goes the start.  They watch the big screen, wait for the English commentators and react at each new development of the race.  The beginning was not that good for Rowbotham and his crew, passes in a fifth position at the 500m mark. The faces of Singer and Davies become even more tense.  But then the British start their push and they come back into fourth, then into third. The grannies begin to shout and when finally the British pass the finish line in second position and qualify for the semifinals, Singer and Davies’ arms go up in the air and you can read the relief on their faces.

Singer exclaimes, “It’s wonderful!” and Davies adds, “it’s even better if he wins in the final. The only way is up!  We don’t see him in the evening but it’s maybe best like that because he has to concentrate. But instinctively, he knows we are shouting for him.”

One of their fears is not to be able to go and cheer for Rowbotham in the 2012 London Olympics. So close to home but so hard to get tickets.

Davies and Singer are now addicted to rowing. They don’t want to miss one single event and they make sure the rowing events are the first dates they put on their agendas at the beginning of each year.  They were in Beijing for the 2008 Olympic Games to witness Rowbotham’s Olympic bronze medal, but unfortunately Karapiro (2010 World Rowing Championships in New Zealand) was a bit too far to travel. Instead they stayed at home and watched it on British television in the middle of the night.

You will surely recognise them in the Bled grandstand; the two slim silver haired look alike ladies who never come without the Union Jack flag of Singer‘s late husband (Rowbotham’s grandfather).  They support and cheer for all British boats – so the British team have their own “grandmothers” in the grandstand.


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