ROWING starlet Lucy Burgess has struck gold in Australia.

The 18-year-old from Calveley won the women’s four race for Team GB at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival in Sydney on Sunday.

Lucy, a former Bishop Heber High School student, also bagged a bronze medal from the women’s eight on the same day.

She said: “It was a great experience. It was the first time we were at a multi-sport event and might be the closest experience to the real Olympic Games I am going to get.”

The Australian Youth Olympic Festival is a legacy of the 2000 Sydney Games and a recognised stepping-stone towards future senior Olympic success. The event featured 1,700 young athletes from 30 nations, competing across 17 Olympic sports.

Lucy’s competition started on Saturday with a fourth-placed finish in the final of the pair.

Then on Sunday Lucy and team-mates Anastasia Merlott Chitty, Bethany Bryan and Nicole Lamb ensured Great Britain triumphed in the fours final, with New Zealand having to settle for silver.

The teenager said: “It was an amazing feeling to win the gold and was really good to hear the national anthem being played for us.”

Lucy had no time to celebrate as she was quickly back in action in the eights competition. After winning their heat, the GB girls claimed the bronze medal in the final courtesy of a photo finish.

“When we crossed the line, we didn’t know if we came third or fourth,” said Lucy, a member of Northwich Rowing Club.

“It was really tense for minutes while the officials looked back at the photo finish to decide the result.

“Then over the loudspeaker they announced for Team GB to go to the medal podium because we had won the bronze medal.

“It was an awesome feeling. Our whole crew were screaming, banging the boat and splashing the water around with excitement. I have never been more pleased to win a bronze medal.”

Hockey star Phil’s silver lining – see page 76.