Young rowers from Tower Hamlets meet Paralympic champion

Young rowers from an East London school have been inspired by Paralympic Gold medalist and world champion Tom Aggar at a special training session for the EDF Community Rowing Challenge. Students from Stepney Green School in Tower Hamlets met up with Tom, Britain’s most successful Paralympic rower, at the London Regatta Centre on Thursday 17th April.

It was all part of their on-going training as they work towards the EDF Community Rowing Challenge final, at the London 2012 Games rowing venue at Eton Dorney 1st May.

Tom, who trains at the London Regatta Centre, where he first started rowing, said: “The young people are a credit to Stepney Green. It was wonderful to talk to them and see their enthusiasm for the EDF Community Rowing Challenge.

“They’re committed to a tough training schedule and of course are all desperate to make the boat for the final at the Olympic rowing venue. The challenge is a great initiative, using the Olympic values to inspire young people to come together as a team, learn a new sport and do their best for themselves, the team and their school.”

Pupil Sayeed Ahmed said: “It was brilliant. I enjoy rowing as a hobby and have been doing it for a long time so meeting Tom today has been a bonus and really inspiring for me.”

Martin Smith, PE teacher at Stepney Green School, said: “It’s great that EDF is giving the pupils the opportunity to learn to row properly. It’s inspirational for them to be able to meet a champion like Tom and this inspiration is passed through to others in the school too. The boys competing in the EDF Community Rowing Challenge team are already being seen as role models by some of the younger pupils in the school.”

Coaches at London Youth Rowing at have been working with five Olympic and Olympic Gateway borough schools – Cardinal Pole (Hackney), Royal Liberty (Havering), Palmer Catholic Academy (Redbridge), Stepney Green and Connaught (Waltham Forest), since the start of the year.

Jean-Christophe Rolland, EDF project lead and gold medal winner in the coxless pairs at the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000, said: “As an official partner of London 2012, EDF is focused on helping to deliver a positive lasting legacy for the Games. We want to use the Olympic values to inspire these young people not just in sport but to provide them with life skills to help achieve their potential as they progress to further education or into work.”

Ben Cox, development manager at London Youth Rowing, said: “It was brilliant to have Tom join us for the training session. You can see just how dedicated the youngsters are to the challenge. Having a Paralympic and world champion to talk and inspire them was fantastic. Programmes like the EDF Community Rowing Challenge are really helping London Youth Rowing take sport into the community.”

 

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