The London Youth Rowing program bears fruit at #NJIRC2018
Event images are here
The 12th National Junior Indoor Rowing Championship (NJIRC), the largest indoor rowing event of its kind in the world, saw over 2,000 junior rowers from more than 150 schools and junior clubs meet at Lee Valley Athletics Centre on Friday, March 9. A melting pot of young indoor rowers from every conceivable background and close proximity to the racing means that NJIRC is a boisterous, high energy event.
The all-day event was supported by over 200 volunteers which included some from the Department of Work & Pensions as part of their Community 10,000 volunteering programme and Tideway. Programme Manager for Tideway and 3 times Gold medal Olympian, Andrew Triggs-Hodge, was joined by Olympic silver medalist, Jessica Eddie, and Olympic champion, Mark Hunter, to meet the competitors and hand out medals.
Mark Hunter at the National Junior Indoor Rowing Championships 2018
The mission of London Youth Rowing is to ‘encourage disadvantaged young people to be active’ and to ‘enable young people to participate in the unique sport – indoor and on-water rowing – across London, regardless of background, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, disability or ability.’ Their funding relies on participation numbers and they receive no monies from British Rowing, the national governing body for Indoor Rowing who run their own event, the British Indoor Rowing Championships, held in December.
WEROW managed to find a quiet corner of the arena to talk to Christiana, a trainer supplied by Greenhouse Sports for John F Kennedy School in Becton and Stratford, who told us what the NJIRC means to the children. The John F Kennedy School is a special education needs school, teaching students with all disabilities, and this year they brought kids from 7-19 years old to take part in the event. Greenhouse Sports provides sports training to disengaged, vulnerable or disadvantaged young people in London.
When asked what this day means for the children she said, ‘It is very important to let them try other things, because as you know they don’t get out much, they don’t try different things. It’s good for them to get out into the community and see other sports apart from normal football sports. It’s good for them to get out and mix with other children.’
Exercise is a weekly event at JFK as Christiana described, “We have a coach called Rob that comes in from LYR and he helps me to run a circuit for the whole school, one for each year group. We have about 5 rowing machines and we will put them out as part of a big circuit every Tuesday. We make notes of the children’s rowing times to chart their progress”
Christiana (centre) and the John F Kennedy School participants
Unfortunately, the NJIRC is one of the few activities out of the school grounds as transport and needs make it difficult. Christiana explained, “An event like today needs loads of preparation to let the students understand where we are going. Staffing is also an issue; getting the right staff to be out of school but we also have kids still back at school so they have to make sure that everything is covered”.
Of participants at NJIRC between 11 – 18 years of age, 50% came from Active Row supported secondary schools, funded by Tideway and Sports England. At the end of the day, the leading Active Row School was Mossbourne with 7th, 8th and 8th positions across three events. Plymouth Rowing Club achieved 3 gold medals, with first place in the Boat Race Girls relay, and both the Sprint Boys and Sprint Girls relays, and a silver in the Boat Race Boys behind Maidstone Invicta Rowing Club.
Julia Olawumi of Globe Rowing Club at NJIRC2018
Article by Catherine Radvanszky, in-house journalist and photographer at WEROW.