Statement on J14s at British Rowing Junior Championships

Following the temporary removal of J14 racing from the 2021 Junior Championships, we provide an update on the decision-making process

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The decision to limit access to one of our Championship events is not a decision that is ever taken lightly, even when it is on a temporary basis. Unfortunately, due to the unprecedented circumstances we continue to find ourselves in this year, we have had to take the decision that there will be no J14 racing at the 2021 British Rowing Junior Championships. Understandably, this has caused disappointment for rowers and coaches of crews in this age group and so we have set out below why we have taken this decision, what has been done to try to ensure these rowers still have strong opportunities to race and why we are confident that this will not impact on this cohort of rower’s long-term development.

Why the decision was taken

In light of existing guidance and the likelihood of some restrictions still being in place at the time of the competition (16-18 July), it was decided that a J14 Omnium was not practical given the number of volunteers and the close proximity of competitors in some areas. It was also noted that we would need additional time for older age groups in order to be able to offer racing in a format that minimises overnight stays. It is obviously regrettable that we can’t operate J14 events this year but, after consultation with members of the Junior Rowing Committee of British Rowing and senior coaches, it was felt that this would not adversely affect their ability to progress their rowing careers in the medium to long term.

Mitigation 

Since it became apparent that we might be required to take this difficult decision, we have worked to ensure there are good racing opportunities for J14 rowers across the country.

Nick Hubble, Chair of the Sport Committee explains, “We are confident that there is a strong offering this summer across the country for J14 rowers – there are a number of opportunities to race at events, such as additional days at Marlow and Peterborough Junior is now spread over two days, with further opportunities at competitions across the country. Behind the scenes we have spoken to competition organisers to check these events will take place and to offer our advice and support to these competitions.”

For J14 coaches, here are some of the events we know are including J14 events:

  • Tyne
  • Marlow Regatta
  • Peterborough Junior
  • Marlow Town
  • Chiswick
  • York Summer 
  • Along with others later in the season and still in the planning stages. For further details please click here

Impact on development

We are confident that this decision will not impact the long-term development of J14 rowers. Chief Coach of the Under-23s and Juniors, Peter Sheppard explains, “The most important thing for a rower at this stage of their development is to ensure they have good technical coaching so they learn to scull well and, as a result, enjoy propelling a boat through the water efficiently. Providing them with local competitions will provide them with an opportunity to experience and build their excitement about racing.’’

“With COVID restrictions as they have been over the last year, no J14 rower will have had nearly enough skill development or training this season to justify attending a national competition. These rowers will not be held up in their development by not having a British Rowing Junior Championships. What will hold them up is if we do not coach these young rowers properly now, allowing them to develop a strong base of skill development. Now is the time to get this right so these rowers can achieve more in the coming seasons. It’s important to remember that there is no correlation between being British Rowing Champion at J14 and being successful at J18 let alone as an Olympian.”

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