Young rower Tristan Grainge believes being surrounded by Olympic stars at Henley’s prestigious Leander Rowing Club has kept him firmly on track for glory.

The 18-year-old from Reading took up rowing at 14 thanks to a partnership between his school and Leander.

23 of the 45 rowers selected for the Tokyo Olympics this year train and compete domestically for Leander and Grainge has relished rubbing shoulders with potential Olympic medallists.

“It's brilliant having all of the athletes there,” he said.
“You can literally eat your lunch next to someone who's already won multiple Olympic medals or is going to win multiple medals, which is a really motivating environment. 

“My biggest inspiration is my coach, James Loveday. It's just his whole mentality when it comes to rowing and life in general, it is I think a really good mentality and he inspires me to do well. 

Ealing Times: The Reading native reached the U18 semi-finals of the prestigious Henley Royal Regatta aged just 16The Reading native reached the U18 semi-finals of the prestigious Henley Royal Regatta aged just 16

“I'm really lucky because at Leander they have a joint programme with Henley College, which basically helps you control having schoolwork to do. 

“Especially with rowing you train a lot, training up to two or three times a day, so, managing a full day at school can be almost impossible for most people but luckily at Henley College they make it work and they give us time to train.

“At Leander, they give us time to revise or to study, which is amazing. You don't find that anywhere else in the country.”

An innovative partnership between SportsAid and Wall’s Pastry’s has helped fuel Grainge’s journey, with an on-pack Wall’s promotion giving consumers a chance to win a handful of money-can’t-buy experiences.

The on-pack promotion launched earlier this month and involves 50p from every pack sold going towards supporting the next generation of SportsAid stars.

Ealing Times: Grainge competing with his Leander teammatesGrainge competing with his Leander teammates

The vital funding goes towards travel and equipment costs for young athletes and Grainge doesn’t have to look far for inspiration among SportsAid alumni, with Ennis-Hill among those to have benefitted from similar programmes in the past.

Grainge explained how SportsAid’s support has helped him as he takes a gap year to focus on rowing full-time, adding: “SportsAid is a massive help to me because I don't come from an overly well-off family and rowing is a very expensive sport. I couldn’t do it without SportsAid and Wall’s’ help.

“It opens a lot of doors to improve your performance, to go to more competitions or to buy better equipment, or even down to eating better foods, which it can come down to sometimes.

“I want to say how grateful I was for SportsAid, because they really helped me out this year. With everything and with the calls especially during the lockdown it was quite tough sometimes and those calls would give you that extra bit of motivation to do well.”

Wall’s Pastry is proud to be championing the next generation of UK athletes. For more information about Wall’s Pastry or the on-pack promotion, please visit