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NJIRC and Race the Thames make successful Copper Box Arena debuts

On Friday 15 March 2019, sports charity London Youth Rowing (LYR) hosted 2,000 people at its biggest event of the year.

For the first time in the event’s history, the National Junior Indoor Rowing Championships (NJIRC) took place at London 2012 venue the Copper Box Arena on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. NJIRC 2019 enabled over 1,700 young competitors to showcase their energy, talent and determination on the same iconic stage as Team GB’s Olympic and Paralympic superstars.

LYR - founders and hosts of NJIRC - aims to get young people active and engaged in sport, opening access to rowing regardless of background, ethnicity, gender, sexuality or ability. NJIRC offers opportunity to those who would not normally get the chance to race at national level, immersing them in the buzz and adrenaline of high-level competition.

Georgina Barrell, Rowing Coach, Norwich School said:

Thank you for putting on such a well run and exciting event.  We brought a small group from Norwich School and have not entered an ergo competition before so we were not sure what to expect; however, the girls all really enjoyed the experience and we will definitely be coming again.

150 schools and clubs travelled from as far afield as Warrington, the Isle of Wight and Plymouth to take part in 6 hours of racing, supported by over 200 volunteers. 70 state secondary schools took part from LYR's Active Row programme, which works with schools in the most deprived areas of London. 50% of participants were girls, over 60% BME and the event specifically catered for young people with sensory, learning and physical disabilities.

Andrew Liney, Senior Manager Children & Young People at Sport England said:

I thought it was a fantastic atmosphere, great venue and super well-organised so congratulations to the LYR team.

Matt Rostron, CEO London Youth Rowing said:

We are thrilled with the whole event and just loved it! The LYR team never cease to be inspired and amazed at the way that hundreds of young people come together and just have a go – whether that is the way they win medals, earned pb’s or just raced as hard as they could. We want to thank every one of them for entering and also the amazing volunteers, supporters and sponsors for delivering what has to be one of our best events – ever!

On the same day also within the Copper Box Arena, a new fundraising challenge called ‘Race The Thames’ brought together 11 corporate teams to raise funds for LYR and thus help to make NJIRC more financially sustainable. Teams of 8 raced from 9.30am to 3pm over an incredible 45 miles each – the length of the Tidal Thames. The first team to complete the challenge were from CitiGroup, closely followed by teams from Tideway HQ, Tideway East CVB, Tideway West BMB, The Royal Navy, Cushman & Wakefield, Vakt Global, Native Land and Sports Sphere.

Robert Harris, Native land competitor said:

Well done and thank you for an excellent event.  The organisation was flawless, which is epic given what was involved. Taking part has truly inspired our crew, either dragging oldies out of ‘training retirement’ or pushing the younger members to push themselves like never before.

Photo credit: John Trigg
Top left photo: competitor supporting their teammate
Bottom right photo: 3 times Olympic Rowing Champion, Pete Reed, presenting medals

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Charity Number: 1122941. Company Number: 06243293. Royal Docks Adventure, 1012 Dockside Road, London, E16 2QT.
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