Indoor Rowing Proves Big Hit with UK Youngsters

On Tuesday 16 March just under 2,000 school children from 149 schools across the UK, descended on London’s Battersea Park to take part in the biggest ever National Junior Indoor Rowing Championships (NJIRC).

The youngsters, aged between 11 and 18, were competing against each other head to head on 80 rowing machines. The atmosphere at the Battersea Evolution centre was electric and it was clear the pupils and schools were there to make their mark on the sport.

The teenagers taking part are the cream of the crop in junior indoor rowing;  many having qualified for this national event through regional events. 

At least one British Record was broken at NJIRC after Sebastian Adams, a year 7 at the Royal Liberty School in Havering, rowed 580 metres in just two minutes.  Sebastian’s school is part of the Row East London initiative run by London Youth Rowing, designed to help improve the health and well being of young people in the 10 East London Olympic and Gateway boroughs.

GB Rowing Team member Tom Solesbury (who competed at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games) was there to support the next generation of rowers, he said, “I didn’t get in to rowing until I was at university and there was never an option to try rowing at my school or in my local area.  I think today’s demonstrates how much the sport has developed and to speak to some of the children here you can tell how enthusiastic they are about it.  They have access to rowing machines in their schools now and they are following the pathways in to local clubs and making the transition in to boats – it’s great to see!”

Tom Kay, Head of Education at Concept2 commented: “This year’s NJIRC has again proved incredibly exciting for the world of indoor rowing. More young people than ever took part in 2010, demonstrating that indoor rowing actively engaging youngsters of all ages and abilities. The largest event entry was for the Year 8 girls – an age when many girls are dropping out of PE.  “Indoor rowing is an enjoyable and safe way to increase participation in physical activity and to show youngsters that exercise is fun; which is one reason why it is becoming more and more popular in schools across the UK at a time when we’re trying harder than ever before to promote active, healthy lifestyles.”

NJIRC, which is organised by London Youth Rowing in partnership with Concept2, takes place every year in London and sees youngsters from all over the UK gather to race against themselves, their competitors and the clock.

In addition to the indoor rowing, youngsters and spectators gathering at Battersea Evolution were met with a plethora of alternative activities to keep themselves entertained, including a graffiti wall, climbing wall, basketball, football, boxing, brush boarding, cycling, street games and The Rowing Academy talent ID.

To see a list results for NJIRC, go to