British Rowing forced to withdraw from 2021 World Rowing Beach Sprint Finals

A Great Britain Development Squad will still be selected and provided with training support looking towards the 2022 World Rowing Beach Sprint Finals

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Photo Credit: Igor Meijer (World Rowing)

In consultation with colleagues at Welsh and Scottish Rowing, British Rowing has been forced to take the difficult decision not to send a British team to this year’s World Rowing Beach Sprint Finals due to be held in Oeiras in Portugal this September. This is due to the uncertainty created by COVID-19 travel restrictions and the ineligibility of selected athletes for any elite sport exemption.

At this stage, the decision does not impact clubs and crews wishing to enter the 2021 World Rowing Coastal Championships also being held in September in Oeiras, Portugal. Please see the frequently asked questions below for more information.

British Rowing Deputy Director of Performance, Louise Kingsley explains the rationale for the decision, “During the last year, we have experienced as a team just how difficult and expensive it can be to organise logistics for international competition even where athletes are eligible for exemptions from any COVID restrictions. Often we have encountered significant additional costs and last-minute logistical changes. Unfortunately unlike our Olympic, Paralympic and Under-23 squads, the Beach Sprint Team doesn’t qualify for the elite sport exemption put in place by the Government and UK Sport.

“As the Beach Sprints team does not currently receive any UK Sport funding, the athletes are required to self-fund and so any additional costs would also need to be picked up by the athletes. With the situation changing frequently, there is a significant risk that rowers may be required to undergo additional testing, hotel quarantine or other costly logistical changes. If left until the last minute, this could mean rowers having the unenviable choice of withdrawing later and losing accommodation and flight costs or having to cover any additional requirements from their own pocket.”

British Rowing still intends to go ahead with selecting a senior and junior team as planned and these rowers will form a Development Squad. These rowers will receive personalised training support in preparation for the selection of a team for the 2022 World Rowing Beach Sprint Finals which will be hosted in Saundersfoot, Wales.

Frequently asked questions

What will happen on Monday 19th July senior testing day?

The selection day will go ahead as planned and a Development Squad will be selected. This team will receive a small amount of kit and race at a Development Squad regatta in Saundersfoot, Wales on 4 September 2021 (TBC) as well as receiving individualised training support in preparation for GB Rowing Team selection in 2022.

Will the junior selection process still happen?

Yes – the development and selection camp will go ahead as planned and a Development Squad will be selected. This team will receive a small amount of kit and race with the senior team at a Development Squad regatta in Saundersfoot, Wales on 4 September 2021 (TBC) as well as receiving individualised training support in preparation for GB Rowing Team selection in 2022.

I didn’t register to be part of the 2021 selection process but would be interested in being part of the Development Squad?

If you are a senior and have already entered the British Rowing Beach Sprint Championships then you can still be considered for the Development Squad. Please complete the registration form here so you can be considered by 18 July.

Juniors who wish to be considered for selection for the Development Squad should register here by 25 July.

I only entered the British Rowing Beach Sprint Championships as part of selection, do I get my money back?

Yes, if you decide not to race and to withdraw from the selection process you may receive a refund on your entry fee. In order to do this, you will need to withdraw by 15 July by contacting offshoreentries@britishrowing.org. Please note that to be considered for the Development Squad, you will need to have raced at the British Rowing Beach Sprint Championships.

Why is this decision being made now, so far in advance of the event?

Unlike our Olympic, Paralympic and Under-23 squads, the Great Britain Beach Sprint Team doesn’t qualify for the elite sport exemption put in place by the Government and UK Sport. We are fast reaching the point where costs (e.g. accommodation, flights) must be incurred by athletes in the team which may not be refundable in the case of a later cancellation. At this stage, the risk of there then being either significant costs for the athletes, due to lost expenditure or additional costs of testing and quarantine, means that British Rowing has made the decision to withdraw from the event at this point.

How come other national teams are competing?

Every federation will need to make its own decisions based on their own laws, COVID restrictions and budgets.

What does this decision mean for British teams wishing to race at the World Rowing Coastal Championships in Portugal?

We are still hopeful that club crews will be able to make their own decision about whether to enter the Coastal Championships. We are currently clarifying this with World Rowing, in particular in relation to British Rowing’s direct responsibility for these crews. Clubs will need to take into account their own particular circumstances and the potential impact if travel restrictions were to change, potentially at extremely late notice. We will provide further information as soon as we are able to.

Can I take my own risks without British Rowing’s support and race as a private crew at the World Rowing Beach Sprint Finals?

Unfortunately, unlike the Coastal Championships, World Rowing only accepts entries from National Federations (i.e. British Rowing) not clubs into the Beach Sprint Finals.

I still have a question.

If you still have a question about selection please email: GBBeach@britishrowing.org

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