British rower, Mohamed Sbihi MBE, is a three-time Olympian and Olympic medal winner, bringing home gold in the coxless four at 2016 Rio Olympics. Most recently he was part of the men’s eight in 2020 Tokyo games winning a bronze. With his love for the water it’s no surprise he chose Cornwall as his destination for a family getaway.
Editor Rebecca Moore catches up with the Olympian to find out about his passion for pasties, clocking up the miles on the Cornish coast, and why he thinks Cornwall is a winning holiday destination.
When you’re not training, what do you like to do in your spare time?
I love food, and would consider myself a bit of a foodie. That, and watching a good box set. Being an athlete, you get to do both quite regularly, we train hard but we also recover “hard” too and that’s by doing as little as possible to best recover.
Have you managed to take time out from your busy schedule to get some well earned rest?
So after such a long time training for Tokyo, it felt like we needed a good break away as a family. I’ve been training non stop for the last 12 months and I have a few Sundays off here and there. We don’t get long weekends or a week holiday until after our championship or Olympics. So once the high of the Olympics is over with, we always look to get away. This time, our first with the little man, we decided to head to this year’s place to be… Cornwall.
Whereabouts did you stay in Cornwall?
We were lucky enough to be able to stay right in the centre of Padstow in a place called The Grain Store. It was perfect, the location was just right for us; it enabled us to open the door and head straight into the beauty that is Padstow. I really can’t recommend it enough. With a young family, it’s key to be able to pop in and out of the property you are staying in – because you’re bound to forget something or need to dash back for a quick nap! So The Grain Store was ideal.
I was also training for the marathon during this holiday, and to be able to walk out and go running along the coast or the Camel Trail was so easy for my training. Plus being based in Padstow meant we could go out on day trips to St Ives and Port Isaac. We even managed to get to St Michael’s Mount without it being a stretch.
Favourite things about the property?
Where do I begin… Everything. Quite honestly, it was amazing and so well designed. From the exposed steel and wooden beams to the black framing of the windows – it was perfect. Then, I have to mention the view…. from both the large living room and bedroom, it’s unrivalled within Padstow. I genuinely think it has the best view in the whole of the area!
The family enjoy a stomp around picturesque Port Isaac
Any recommendations for people travelling to the area?
Barnaby’s restaurant is cute and the food amazing. It might be overlooked by the bigger, more well known places to eat in, but this packed a punch in both flavour and style. But I would also have to say Stein’s Fish & Chips. Can’t beat a good old fashioned fish and chips by the sea!
Activity wise, I would say the walk along to Stepper Point from Padstow has it all. When the tide is out, you get to walk along the beach and then embrace the winds from the cliff as you walk towards the coast. Or getting a crab sandwich in Port Isaac and walking up to the cliff opposite the entrance of the town – the view is amazing.
What did you like most about Cornwall?
The food. From the pasties to the scones. The people are incredibly friendly, warm and welcoming, and this is shown in their food. Before you think I just eat food and nothing else… the thing I liked about Cornwall the most was the difference it offered. No two places are alike, but they are beautiful in their own right.
What’s the next big thing in the calendar for you now ?
This is a good question. I’m not sure whether I want to carry on rowing or move into the professional world. I love my sport and have had a great career, Tokyo was always seen as an end point but it’s very hard to say goodbye to something that you love to do.
Having said that, I know I need get some professional experience so that my transition out of the sport is made easier. Watch this space.
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