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Highlands and Islands athletes’ opportunity for World Class Start testing in Inverness

Posted: 31 January, 2019

Young athletes in the Highland and Islands with high aspirations could have the best opportunity yet to see if they have the potential to be a world level rowing competitor during the Sports Fayre at Inverness College UHI on Thursday 7th February.
 
Tom Young, who heads up British Rowing’s World Class Start programme in Scotland, and Lee Boucher, Scottish Rowing’s Head of Performance Pathway, will attend the fayre to assess people with potential for success in rowing.
 
“World Class Start aims to identify young athletes with the potential to become Olympic medallists,” said Young (pictured), who is looking for athletes from the Highlands & Islands to join the programme which has a track record for discovering and developing Olympic rowers.
 
Tom Young 2017
 
At the Rio 2016 Games, 27 percent of Team GB rowers came from the Start programme.
 
Scotland’s Heather Stanning is one over a dozen GB athletes to win Olympic medals after graduating from the Start programme.
 
The World Class Start programme is seeking to identify athletes between 14 and 22 years old - males of at least 6’2” and females of 5’10” and over.
It is likely those whom the programme is targeting will already be involved in other sports and haven’t realised that they could have the potential to succeed in rowing. 
 
The region has a track record of success in rowing with Inverness Rowing Club helping to produce Olympian Alan Sinclair (pictured at the 2018 GB Rowing Trials) and former World Champion Imogen Walsh. 
 
Alan Sinclair 2018
 
But Young believes there are even more future rowing champions in the Highlands & Islands who as yet haven’t considered rowing as a sport.
 
“It’s a common factor that Olympic rowers are often brought up in more rural areas rather than the city centres,” said Young.
 
“So we are aiming to increase exposure for the Start programme right across the region to give as many young people the opportunity to see if they fit what we are looking for.
 
“If anyone thinks they are suitable for the programme and wants to give it a quick go then this is the best time to do it.
 
“We will be bringing our testing equipment with us so we can test athletes for their potential as rowers.
 
“If they have the right attributes to be a successful rower then we will look to put them through an accelerated training programme.”
 
Whilst this is probably the best opportunity for Highland & Islands-based youngsters to find out whether they have what it takes to succeed in rowing, there are other routes into the sport.
 
“Inverness boasts some of the best rowing waters in the country and we are delighted to also be working alongside Inverness Rowing Club at the Sports Fayre to create opportunities for more people to try our wonderful sport,” says Boucher (pictured).
 
Lee Boucher 2017
 
“So even if you don’t meet the World Class Start criteria but would like to give the sport a try come along and speak to us on the day to find out how you can get involved.”
 
For more information, or to register your interest in the programme, contact Tom at tom.young@britishrowing.org or Lee at lee.boucher@scottish-rowing.org.uk