Nearly 70 pupils from across Wokingham state secondary schools took part in a Leander Club ergo championships recently.
Leander Club’s High Performance Talent ID coach Jonathan Jackson (‘JJ’) arranged the event as part of the club’s outreach programme which works to bring young people into the sport when they might not have otherwise had the chance.
The Year 9 and Year 10 students, aged 13-15, raced at the event at Waingels College in Woodley, on Thursday 8th December. For many juniors attending the day, this was be their first time on a rowing machine.
JJ, who works with the junior and development squads at Leander, with the aim of getting athletes selected for the national team at both under junior and under 23 level. He also recruits promising athletes and with the goal of turning them into future world champions or even Olympians.
JJ said: “It’s brilliant to encourage these young people to give rowing a try. Rowing on an ergometer is no walk in the park, but the thrill of competing and winning a rowing race on land or water is addictive as we all know!”
Every student participating received a Leander Club t-shirt. The awards were presented by former Leander junior and Olympic silver medallist Harry Leask. Harry learned to row as a junior in Scotland and joined Leander Club in 2012, then progressed through Leander’s junior and senior squads. He went on to represent Great Britain at World U23 level three times and won the silver medal in the men’s quad sculls (M4x) at the Tokyo Olympic Games.
Harry said: “It was great to see so many juniors trying rowing for the first time. I’m hoping we’ll inspire the next generation to take to the water. We may even have started an Olympic journey for some of them!”