Congratulations to Mariam Oderinde, Year 7 from Harris Academy Bermondsey, who is the winner of our NJIRC 2018 Blog Post Competition!

In her own words, Mariam told us about her first time at NJIRC.

It was my first time at a national rowing competition and I felt very nervous because there were more schools there than I expected. But, before I went to the National Junior Indoor Rowing Championships (NJIRC), I participated in the Active Row Competition at South Bank University.

It was my very first time competing against other schools before going to NJIRC. There were less schools there and it was more comfortable as you didn’t feel intimidated by anyone. When I was getting off the rowing machine, they started announcing the winners for the bronze, silver and gold medals. Surprisingly, when they announced the first place winner-they called out my name. In the relay races our school, Harris Academy Bermondsey, came third overall, which was really good for our first competition. This competition was really fun because I got to try something new and celebrate with my team mates at the same time.

After this competition, we heard about NJIRC and we were really excited because on the letter it said there were going to be a lot of fun activities other than rowing. The journey was very long and it was very cold. As we arrived we got a glimpse of where the competition was going to take place. Unfortunately, we never thought it would be so packed with other pupils and schools, which made us feel anxious.

First of all, we had the Year 7 Girls race for 2 minutes on the rowing machines. Although I was scared I still tried my best and participated as well as I could. When we finished rowing, I came 6th in my race along with my team mate who came 5th by a 1 metre different in the race. I was a little disappointed as I didn’t get beat my personal best score because of a temporary injury but I knew there’s only so much that I could do.

Above: Mariam ready to race on machine 5

Despite not winning a medal me and my team mate came 30th and 31st out of 192 other year 7 girls who competed. Later on, we went outside to see what type of activities there were. There was rock climbing, laser tag, the two minute skipping challenge. You could also buy food and run around. In the two minute skipping challenge, our coach won by 216 skips. Due to time, only a few people could go rock climbing as we had to get ready for the relay races for the year 7 girls. We came 11th in the relay race, which wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. To be honest I was very terrified to hear that some students in some year groups were elite rowers.  Whilst Year 8 were doing their races, we decided to go upstairs to play tug of war. Tug of war was amazing because everyone kept pulling the rope so hard the other team would lose focus and start laughing. We explored different places and activities and I got to race some of my team mates on the track outside.

Above: outdoor climbing activity 

At the end of the day, we congratulated each other even if we didn’t win a medal. It was an amazing experience and we didn’t really want to go back but we had to go in order to get back in time to go home. I would recommend other pupils from other schools to join their rowing team so you could compete with our schools and your team mates, win medals but most of all have fun even if you don’t win.