Great Britain to miss 2021 World Rowing Championships

GB Rowing Team will focus on preparing for Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic qualification in 2023

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In unprecedented times and following extensive deliberations, British Rowing has taken the decision not to travel to the 2021 World Rowing Championships taking place in Shanghai in October. The decision is to allow the GB Rowing Team Performance Programme time to reset from September 2021 to help maximise the preparation of those who aspire to perform in Paris in 2024 and on the world stage in the preceding years of 2022 and 2023.

Explaining the decision, British Rowing Director of Performance Brendan Purcell said: “Our current priority is the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games and these events are special for all involved.  The vast majority of the squad have spent the last five years preparing for Tokyo, latterly in ways no-one ever imagined.  But the reality of the coronavirus pandemic has undoubtedly had a major impact on the operations of the GB Rowing Team and the wider Performance programme at British Rowing.

“As we return from the Games in Tokyo, we will be at the start of year two of the Paris 2024 cycle. Olympic and Paralympic Games are the pinnacle of our sport and we therefore need the time and space to recalibrate our operations to a new funding award and, importantly, create individual development opportunities for the rowers not selected in either the Tokyo 2020 or the Paris squads.

“In Olympic terms, three years is not a long time to prepare for a Games.  Importantly, we have two World Championships before Paris including the Olympic and Paralympic qualifying regatta in 2023. World Championships always act as the benchmark for us each season and provide our athletes with the chance to wear the GB vest.

“I know this decision will be disappointing for athletes and coaches aspiring for selection this year but I made the decision after extensive deliberations with the GB Rowing Team Performance Leadership Team and discussions with the Olympic Lead Coaches..  However, as we have learnt over the past year, there is huge value and gains to be made from an uninterrupted period of time spent focusing on training development.  We firmly believe, therefore, that this is the best option for these pathway athletes who can now focus their time on training development domestically alongside Tokyo and Project Paris athletes.  It will also allow them time to get to know our new coaching team, who, because of COVID Tokyo bubbles, have not yet had a chance to work with, interact and assess these athletes.

“Looking ahead, we will set out a programme for the Autumn with the GB Rowing Team coaching staff, identified athletes and their club coaches post Henley Royal Regatta to enable them to prepare and deliver in 2022.

“The importance of focusing on these areas cannot be underestimated in ensuring we are fully prepared to maximise performance at the 2022 and 2023 World Championships and medal opportunities at the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

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