CEO Membership Column – July 2020

This month Andy highlights the latest Covid-19 advice for clubs.

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Over the last few weeks, clubs have been working hard to enable people to get back to enjoy our wonderful sport. Thanks to everyone who has spent so much time behind the scenes to keep their members safe on the water.

July saw Covid-19 continue to dominate the news agenda and since 1 July, we have had four advice updates, reflecting Government guidelines and culminating with the latest version – 5.1 – which was released last Friday.

So, following UK Government advice for sport, from 1 August we have moved cautiously to Phase D while continuing to monitor the situation. Phase D allows mixed household crews to row in coxless pairs and doubles, but no on-water competitions at this stage. Consider carefully your own situation at your club and apply the advice as well as you can. It is worth noting that we are very much planning for a phased introduction of small scale local competitions, and are developing a technology solution which will be available to all members to enable some virtual racing as well. However, we will need to gain Government approval for any return to racing (however small) and will update you all as and when that is able to happen.

Last week we also held a second Return to Rowing webinar, attended by 130 people and hosted by Kenny Baillie, our Partnerships & Communications Director, with Dr Ann Redgrave (Chief Medical Officer at British Rowing), Paul Lorenzato, (British Rowing’s Head of Community Development) and Nick Hubble (Chair of Sports Committee) on the panel.

With plenty of questions coming in, topics ranged from the reintroduction of crew boats, club gyms and cleaning through to acceptable group sizes and having a process to close your club in the event of regional lockdowns. If you missed the webinar and would like to hear the panel’s advice, then you can watch it here.

Please also remember that our Club Support team remains ready to help where we can and you can get in touch by emailing clubsupport@britishrowing.org. You can check the Government guidelines here.

Moving on from Covid-19, one of the month’s highlights was Mohamed Sbihi reclaiming the British 2km record in late-July clocking 5:39.4, narrowly beating Tom George’s record of 05:39.6, set only a month ago. It’s fantastic to see such incredible performances and is testament to all the hard training that the GB rowers have been putting in during lockdown.

In the last week of July, we also celebrated One Year to Go to the Tokyo Games next year with GB rowers sharing their Olympic experiences on a special video.

Looking ahead to Tokyo 2021, we were delighted to announce that our partner, Mizuno, have extended their official sportswear partnership for a further year through to the Olympic and Paralympic Games next summer.

The GB rowers are now on their well-deserved summer break and will return to training for the new season in September. After running a test period with a few athletes at Caversham, we are closer to understanding how we can support the full GB Rowing Team back in a centralised training environment from September.

And lastly, we also ran a pilot with a small group of staff members at our Hammersmith headquarters to see if a phased return might be possible. It was successful and I, for one, am glad to be back finally to some sort of normal office routine albeit in a socially distanced way.

Stay safe.

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