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Ya dancer! Edinburgh student is a DOUBLE world champion and aiming for Rio Olympics

Robyn Hart-Winks is a world champion dancer and rower (Rob Eyton-Jones)
Robyn Hart-Winks is a world champion dancer and rower (Rob Eyton-Jones)

The super-fit student was an award-winning traditional dancer when she was a teenager.

And now she has displayed grit to become world champ at indoor rowing.

Robyn said: “I’m really proud to be probably the first Highland dancing and indoor rowing world champion!”

The 22-year-old won the indoor lightweight world title for indoor rowing in the US.

The Edinburgh University Boat Club competitor finished the static 2,000 metre race in just seven minutes and six seconds to row her German rival into second place.

Robyn – who was a champion Highland dancer aged 15 – sees her latest triumph as the perfect warm-up to the Rio Olympic trials at the end of this month.

“It was amazing,” said Robyn of Kirriemuir, Angus. “It seems crazy to go all the way to America to row two kilometres on a rowing machine but it was a great new experience for me.”

More than 2,000 competitors from all over the world – including a 95-year-old man – “tortured” themselves on professional rowing machines in a bid to be named the World Indoor Rowing champion. Robyn beat Leonie Pieper, of Team Germany, by just three seconds in the lightweight women’s class.

Her amazing victory at the end of last month was cheered on by boyfriend and fellow Edinburgh rower Kieran Brown, 22, at the event in Boston.

“Once you realise that you’re going to make it, it’s just a sense of relief and it’s such a buzz when you’ve finished,” she said.

Previously, her passion had been for Highland dancing.

“I was quite shy when I was younger,” she said. “So my mum put my name down for every sport they did at my local sports centre. I was five when I started Highland dancing. It just clicked and I loved it.”

In 2009, Robyn had the world at her feet when she took the juvenile world championships at the Cowal highland gathering in Dunoon, Argyll.

The prestigious event attracts dancers from Canada, the USA, Australia and New Zealand.

Remembering her victory, Robyn said: “It was probably one of the best days of my life.”

Now she is training twice a day, six days a week, and has her sights firmly set on qualifying for the Olympics.

“It would be amazing if they would have me,” added Robyn, who’s studying English at Edinburgh.

Robyn’s delighted mum Ann, 57, said: “The whole family are proud of her. She is so hard working and committed in everything she does.”


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