Golden run for Thames Upriver at JIRR

The National Water Sports Centre at Holme Pierrepoint was the setting for the Junior Inter-Regional Regatta on Saturday 26th April, with Thames Upriver winning both boys’ and girls’ events for a second consecutive year. 

Over 900 competitors from the 12 teams of the 10 British Rowing regions (Thames comprising three teams) fought hard in the morning heats for places in the afternoon A and B finals, knowing that every position would count for points. Weeks of hard training culminated in six or seven minutes on the water to determine the all-important final placements.

When the morning races were over, there was one region whose crews were consistently qualifying for the A finals – the juniors of Thames Upriver, predominantly from Henley Rowing Club. Henley RC coach David Lister put the continued success of the region down to “good coaching, good equipment, and the hard work and dedication of the competitors”.

Once the finals were underway the clouds parted and the sun brightened up for competitors and supporters alike. Watching the bright colours of the rowers’ team T-shirts advancing from a distance towards the finish line, the sun glinting off the water, rippled by a light breeze – it would have been easy to mistake the event for a carnival display of rowing. But once the boats were close enough to see the competitive strain etched on every face, the physical effort and drive in every stroke – it was clear that there was much at stake.

As the final racing came to a close it was Thames Upriver who received the Di Ellis Shield as overall winners. The overall second place went to the Eastern Region, a great improvement on their fifth place last year, whilst overall third place was won by Thames London.

Dame Di Ellis, JIRR President, and Martin Humphrys, JIRR Chairman, presented the medals with the gold medal tally for Thames Upriver seemingly never ending. Out of a total of 24 A finals, Thames Upriver won 15 gold medals.

Afterwards Dame Di said, “It’s wonderful to see so many young people at such a competition, showing their enthusiasm and support for the sport – and giving it strength for the future.”

Finally Tyne RC member Katie Fuller has attended the event for many years, but this was her first as coach. Paying tribute to the event administrators, she said: “The organisation was excellent with all the races on time and everything running smoothly.”

Full results will be available soon at www.jirr.org/results.

Andrew Lowe

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