Rowing – Francesca Jus-Burke
Franki started rowing at the age of 13 after a school assembly by Newark Rowing Club as part of the British Rowing’s Project Oarsome initiative persuaded her to try the sport.
Three years later, at the age of sixteen she made the Great Britain junior squad, and from then on regularly represented Great Britain at an international level.
In 2004, at her first Junior World Championships she came away with a top six result. A year later, at the same Championships, she achieved a Bronze medal as part of the junior women’s quadruple scull. The first GB women’s quadruple scull to medal at a Junior World Championship, and also the first sculling boat to medal since 2001. In this same year, she also won the British Championships in the quadruple scull and single, and came second at Henley Women’s Regatta.
In 2006, selected just eighteen days before the U23 World Championships, she achieved a photo-finish silver medal in the women’s quadruple scull. In 2007, she won BUSA (British Universities Sports Association) in the single scull, and was given the amazing opportunity of racing at the Senior Rowing World Cup, where the quadruple scull which would go on to achieve a bronze medal at the Under 23s, came eighth.
In 2008, as a result of a chronic back injury that physiotherapists and specialists couldn’t solve, she took premature retirement. In early 2009 she started working at the Dame Kelly Holmes Legacy Trust where Dame Kelly put her in touch with the physio behind getting her fighting fit for Athens. With Ali Rose’s diagnosis and support Franki overcame the injury. It was at that point, with the support of Dame Kelly Holmes that she decided to return to rowing and fulfil her potential.
In the 2010 season, Franki won the the elite single scull event at Henley Women’s Regatta and came 10th at Amsterdam International Regatta against Olympic and World Champions and medallists. She came fourth at the GB Long Distance Trials and got a PB on a 2k ergometer test.
In March 2011, Franki was diagnosed with a labrum tear of the hip socket, which despite a successful operation ended her dream of competing at London 2012. In addition to pursuing other avenues of development, she is presently focussed on her roles as Project Officer for British Rowing and Junior Rowing Coach at Putney High School, as well as training to become a Level 3 Assessor in Sport.