East London school rowers enjoy Eton Dorney limelight
Students from five East London schools competed in the final of the EDF Community Rowing Challenge at Eton Dorney yesterday (May 1st), in front of Sir Steve Redgrave, the GB Rowing Team’s Katherine Grainger and British Rowing Chairman Di Ellis.
The showpiece final was the culmination of four months of training for the 40 youngsters involved, which saw London Youth Rowing coaches put teams of rowers from Cardinal Pole (Hackney), Royal Liberty (Havering), Palmer Catholic Academy (Redbridge), Stepney Green (Tower Hamlets), and Connaught (Waltham Forrest) through their paces.
Royal Liberty School won the overall challenge, after points were awarded for teamwork, commitment, punctuality, and results from the Junior Indoor Rowing Championships and the final race itself.
However, all 40 participants were praised for their attitude and commitment throughout the process – with many of the youngsters taking up rowing for the first time for the competition.
At the end of yesterday’s event, EDF awarded medals and prizes to every rower including tickets for tours of the Olympic Park, and Olympic hockey match, and trips on the EDF Energy London Eye.
Sir Steve Redgrave, who was on hand to award the medals and prizes at the end of the final race, said: “The last time I raced at Dorney Lake was in 2005 during the FISA World Cup. In a few months time Dorney Lake will be host to the London Olympics. I couldn’t think of a more appropriate place to hold this event. It was fantastic to watch these inspiring young athletes complete the EDF Community Rowing Challenge after training so hard, especially when so few of them had even stepped into a boat before. It’s a wonderful achievement.”
Calvin Bradley, 16 from Royal Liberty School, added: “I can’t believe we’ve won. To receive medals from Sir Steve Redgrave, our most successful Olympic athlete ever, was just incredible. To learn from athletes, try and do things the Olympic way, and to actually go and experience the Games at the Olympic Park is just brilliant. It feels like we’ve been part of something very special.”