Team GB rower boasts Langholm roots

PEEBLES may be able to claim the biggest bragging right’s in the Borders this week as far as Olympic success is concerned but all over the region people have been celebrating various links with the greatest sporting event on Earth, writes Fiona Scott.

The golden thread wound it’s way to Langholm last weekend when rower Katherine Copeland, the 21-year-old with Langholm grandparents, claimed another top podium spot on what was super Saturday for the GB Olympic squad. She only joined up with Sophie Hosking to row in the lightweight women’s double skull four months ago and on Saturday they pulled off a great Olympic victory in the final over China, with Greece in third place.

Born in Ashington, Copeland rows for the Tees club and is based in Ingelby. However grandparents John and Irene Copeland were born and brought up in the Muckle Toon and were educated at the local Academy. John played a number of seasons for the Langholm rugby side and was a member of the team that won the Scottish unofficial championship and Border League in 1958/59. John’s father Wull Copeland was keen on all sports and when janitor at Langholm Academy for a number of years he encouraged many youngsters, and was always busy cutting the grass on the sports field. John has two sisters Lillian Park and Noreen Graham, who live in and around Langholm and they were glued to the TV last Saturday morning cheering on their great niece. Lillian’s two boys Graham and Gregor also cheered her to victory before going out to help the Langholm cricket side to win.

Elsewhere Kelso-based eventer Caroline Powell was part of the New Zealand side which finished third overall behind winners Germany and silver medallists Great Britain in the team event.

Riding 19-year-old Lenamore, Powell finished in 29th overall after the showjumping phase at Greenwich Park. In a thrilling finish, New Zealand secured the bronze by just four points from fourth-placed Sweden. Powell was born in New Zealand but has lived in the Borders for a number of years at her Springwood yard. Her team’s victory secured her country’s first medal at the 2012 Olympics.

In the pool it was Abu Dhabi born swimmer, Robbie Renwick, 24, now based in Aber deen who boosted the ratings in Hawick.

Peter Renwick, Robbie’s dad, works in the oil industry and was 18 when the family left the Borders in the 1970s though members of the wider family remain. He was also a swimmer and competed regularly at university level.

Peter’s dad Stanley, Robbie’s grandfather, owned the former Renwicks mill and played rugby for Hawick and at district level.

Renwick jnr was sixth in 200 metres and was sixth in the relay at London Olympics, two places better than his previous Olympic performance in Beijing where he was eighth in the individual 200m.

Dad Peter told TheSouthern: “The thing about Robbie is that he is very determined and he hates getting beaten.

“He’s got the physique and he’s got the genes to a certain extent. Some of the guys he’s up against are much bigger but he really holds his own.”

Renwick started swimming competitvely when he was nine years old and wants to compete in the Commonewealth Games in Glasgow 2014.