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World elite rowers welcomed to Royal Holloway as Olympic countdown begins

Posted on 27/07/2011

Rodrigo Ideus Forero and Helene Raynsford with Sophie Christiansen (Para-Equestrian Dressage) at a College STARS ceremony.

As the country celebrates the one year countdown to the Olympic Games in 2012, Royal Holloway, University of London prepares to open its doors to the world’s elite junior rowers for an international regatta.

Rowers from 45 national junior squads will stay at Royal Holloway next week during the World Rowing Junior Championships. Those staying at the College will be from countries including Great Britain and France as well as teams from further afield such as Belarus, Georgia and Kazakhstan.

The Championships are an annual international rowing regatta organised by FISA (the International Rowing Federation) and it is being used to test facilities for the Olympic and Paralympic Regattas in 2012 which will be held at Dorney Lake, near Eton, next year.

An official opening ceremony will be held on Tuesday 2 August at Royal Holloway’s prestigious South Quad with a procession of flag bearers ahead of the Championships which will take place from Wednesday 3 August to Sunday 7 August.

Ben Hunt-Davis, Chairman of the Organising Committee, said: “We are delighted that Royal Holloway, University of London was able to accommodate all of the teams during the Championships. It is a wonderful venue with all of the facilities we need in close proximity to Dorney Lake." 

Royal Holloway has a long established connection with rowing, with former Economics student Rodrigo Ideus Forero making history by being the first Columbian rower to compete in the Olympic Games when he qualified for the 2008 Beijing Games. Psychology graduate Jessica Eddie (GB Women’s eight) and Medical Biochemistry graduate Helene Raynsford (Gold medalist) also competed in the Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Games in rowing.

These students were supported by the Student Talented Athlete Recognition Scheme (STARS) while at Royal Holloway. The scheme, which was established in 1996 to provide bursaries and academic support to assist student elite athletes during their studies, has supported six Olympians and Paralympians and many athletes with world and national rankings.

Mark Hyndman, Sports Development Executive at Royal Holloway, said: “Due to our proximity and support services we offer for student athletes we have always had a strong tradition of World Class Rowers choosing Royal Holloway to study. The scheme provides students the perfect opportunity to achieve success both academically and in their sport. We hope to recognise a few faces in 2012 at the London Olympics, but we are now supporting the next generation who hope to represent their country in 2016 at Rio”.

Tickets for the World Rowing Junior Championships are available via the event website.


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