James Burrows, Norwich RC
The first every national-level junior rowing event was featured by the Junior Sculling Regatta at Dorney Lake yesterday. The event was introduced to cover a number of events not able to be included in the annual Nat Schools Regatta for juniors at the end of the month. Despite expanding to a 3-day schedule, the Nat Schools event still struggled to cram in all the competitors and boats. One group of competitors missing out were the adaptive rowers. I made a formal request to add single adaptive race to Nat Schools, but was unfortunately rejected.
But the new JSR embraced adaptive rowing. Straight from the initial planning, the organisers contacted me about how they could best support junior adaptive racing. Having never been done before in an event of this scale and profile, it took a bit of planning and inevitable learning, but the end results was flawless.
The biggest learning was about the guide boats. The race required two guides riding with the umpire launches to steer two visually impaired athletes. The extra time required to get the guides to the start line to board the launches, then ride the length of the course to fetch the athletes from the launching area, and then proceed back to the start line was something that we hadn’t quite factored in properly, but with the buffer time built in, everything worked fine.
Congratulations to all rowers, but especially to the medal winners:
- Gold – Georgia Walker, Marlow
- Silver – James Burrows, Norwich
- Bronze – PJ O’Donovan, Great Marlow School