Rowing supports 10th Birthday party at Parliament

TASS, the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme, is celebrating its 10th birthday with a special reception at the Houses of Parliament next week.

Since the first awards were given out in 2003, TASS has helped support 177 emerging rowers who are combining training with study.

Somewhere close to just over £1 million has been contributed towards vital things like physiotherapy, strength and conditioning and other support.

Helen Glover, GB’s first gold medalllst of the 2012 Games with Heather Stanning, is included in an illustrious list of those rowers who received TASS support. This also includes Zac Purchase, Jess Eddie, Anna Watkins and brothers Richard and Peter Chambers.

Glover and Anna Watkins both recently took part in a thank-you campaign for TASS. Glover, now the World and Olympic Champion, began rowing in 2007 having had no previous experience of the sport. Her rise to win 2012 women’s pair gold with Heather Stanning at the London Games was one of the most memorable and emotional of that summer.

Glover, once identified as a talent, began to learn to row with the GB Rowing Team’s Start programme based at the University of Bath, and worked as a PE teacher alongside her training in order to support herself.

In 2009, she began to make a name for herself on the sporting stage as she won gold in the senior single scull at Henley Women’s Regatta. 2010 marked her breakthrough year. She and Heather Stanning claimed silver in the pair at the 2010 World Rowing Championships.

2011 was another impressive year. Glover and Stanning were overall World Cup Series winners and then pushed reigning World Champions, New Zealand, to within a tenth of a second of the world title in Bled, winning silver.

In 2012, everything came good as Glover and Stanning won all three of the World Cup events and peaked with gold in the London 2012 Olympic Games. Both were subsequently honoured by the Queen as MBEs.

It was a fairytale end to the year for the partnership, and Glover has been full of praise for the support she received from TASS along the way: “[It] means you’ve got a lot more in your favour and it massively brings those odds to the advantage of the athlete. It was the feeling there was a support system there for me, specifically in my situation that was really important. Those things made a huge difference and tipped the balance. Things like being able to drive rather than run to training because I had enough money for petrol and having physio. They made a huge difference”.

2013 has seen Glover establish a new partnership with Polly Swan and the duo were crowned World Champions in Chungju, Korea, in August.