Eke cruising into new home at AIS

MOST days former Yamba rower Sarah Eke cruises down Lake Burley Griffin, watching Parliament House as she goes past.

But it isn't all fun and games - this is serious training.

Eke, 22, has just been awarded a 12-month scholarship at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS), based in Canberra, making her one of 10 women nationwide to receive a spot

Before she got the exciting news in December last year, Eke was working fulltime as a receptionist at an accounting firm in Brisbane.

Now she does rowing training five mornings each week, some of which are double sessions.

The rest of the day she spends in physio or having massages before she going for weight training, cycling or ergo work in the afternoon.

“It will take a little bit of getting used to, but I'll get there,” she said.

Ms Eke admits that 'sport was always a priority' throughout school.

“Once I started rowing, I liked it,” she said.

“I took three years off from rowing after school just to get away from it all, and it was hard to get back into it, but I enjoyed it a bit more.”

However, Eke said she didn't win 'lots of awards' for her rowing endeavours, modestly adding that she won 'just a couple of state titles'.

“I've always worked hard at it,” she said.

Her early days of rowing down the Clarence River were 'good preparation', and she said they 'taught me a lot'.

Now she lives 'in the same block' as the other female rowing scholarship recipients, and they 'do most stuff together, like training'.

“It's like living on campus, it has the same atmosphere,” Eke said.

“But instead of drinking lots of alcohol, we drink Gatorade.”

Although Eke has been at the AIS for three weeks, she said it was 'definitely a step-up' to the training regime she used to do.

Eke's typical position is the sweep or stroke side, but she's not sure what her position will be in the AIS team.

This year Eke is aiming to compete in the NSW state titles, Australian titles and World Championships in Poland this year, but is also aiming for the London Olympics.

“It's my ultimate goal, but I've got a long way to go,” she said.

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