A MAN who helped to shape the sporting lives of three Tokyo Olympics participants at a Northwich school says he is not surprised by their achievements.

Tom Ford, his younger sister Emily and ex-crew mate Will Broderick all started rowing at The Grange School where Graham Jump was head of the sport’s coaching programme that he built on ‘enjoyment’ and ‘fun’.

The Fords will make their Olympic debuts for Team GB on Sunday in the men’s and women’s eights boats, while Broderick will also taste Olympic competition for the first time next Thursday, July 29, but as head coach of the Brazil women’s rugby sevens team.

Jump, who now works at Weaverham High School and is chairman of Northwich Rowing Club, says he is very proud of them all as they prepare to fly the flag for the town in the greatest event of all.

“They were both captains of the club and very humble kids,” said Jump as he recalled the early rowing days of Tom, 28, and Emily, 26.

“They were easy to coach, good listeners, had a very hard-working ethic, they expected nothing and earned everything.

“They were a delight, and all the people around them in their squads were good kids. It was a good club and a vibrant and happy place to be.”

Tom won medals at Henley and in national championships but the former Newcastle University student’s Great Britain honours came later.


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Jump added: “Emily did make it into the Great Britain team while at school. That was a very proud moment when I got a phone call to say she’d been selected for the world championships in Bulgaria.

“They were both very popular athletes within school and its rowing club. A delight to have around.”


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The Fords, and Broderick, were guided at The Grange by Paul Rafferty, who coached three-times Olympian Matt Langridge when he was at Northwich Rowing Club.

Broderick, 28, a former scrum-half at Winnington Park Rugby Club, was part of a Grange School crew with Tom that won a silver medal at the national championships at junior 15s level.

“Will’s another great lad. He was never going to make it as a rower because he wasn’t tall enough, but my goodness he was strong,” said Jump.

“Rugby was his first choice but he managed to balance the two very well in school. And he rowed to a very high standard. He made the Henley boat one year and that gives you an idea of his calibre.

“But he’s also a great communicator and a real passionate lad. I’m not surprised at all he’s coaching the Brazil girls because he will make them better. He will be an asset to them.

“He was a 100 percenter, always giving everything.”

The Fords will race in the eights heats on Sunday between 3am and 3.30am UK time. Any repechage requirement would be on Wednesday between 2.30am (women) and 2.48am (men), while both crews are expected to be in finals scheduled for Friday, July 30, at 2.05am (women) and 2.25am (men).

Broderick’s Brazil face Canada first on Thursday, July 29, at 1.30am followed by France at 9am.

Meanwhile, the Olympics campaign is up and running for Sandy MacIver's team.

The Great Britain women’s football team defeated Chile 2-0 in their opening Group E game at Sapporo Dome today and will go on to face hosts Japan at the same venue on Saturday at 11.30am (UK time).

Everton Super League goalkeeper MacIver, who hails from Winsford and studied at Weaverham High School, is with the Team GB squad as a reserve, playing a full part in training and helping with preparations while gaining valuable experience that could help the England international to make the playing squad in Paris 2024.

The 22-year-old was a torch carrier during the 2012 London Olympics relay as it was taken through Chester.


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