The annual National Junior Indoor Rowing Championships (NJIRC) took place virtually for the first time last weekend and saw over 4,100 young people from all backgrounds competing over three days of virtual racing.
With the entire event taking place remotely, more junior rowers than ever took part in the sport’s biggest junior competition platform as the expanded format allowed international entries for the first time.
For the last 15 years, the National Junior Indoor Rowing Championships (NJIRC) has become the landmark event in the junior sporting calendar to get young people active and engaged in sport, opening access to rowing regardless of background, ethnicity, gender, sexuality or ability.
London Youth Rowing (LYR), founders and hosts of the event, had this year decided to use the current lockdown measures to celebrate the inclusivity of sport.
The event saw a record 107 entries from special educations needs and disabilities (SEND) schools, nearly a 50/50 split in male and female participants and entries from all over the world including Champions Rowing Club in South Africa.
Andrew Triggs-Hodge, three-time Olympic rowing champions and Director of Corporate Engagement at London Youth Rowing, said: “London Youth Rowing is built on the idea that rowing should be an inclusive sport. Last weekend we delivered the 15th National Junior Indoor Rowing Championships (NJIR) with over 4,000 entries.
The highlight was seeing young people from across the UK, and a handful of international crews from South Africa and the USA, launch themselves back into sport and competition fresh off lockdown. There was no lacking in enthusiasm and energy!
“NJIRC is always such an inspiring event, seeing thousands of young people, from non-rowing backgrounds and schools, throw themselves into the sport that’s generally considered to be exclusive.
Rowing has so much to give, and the work LYR does inspires me to work harder still to help open the sport up further, both at LYR and helping others across the country.
“The planning is now already underway for NJIRC ’22, set for 4 March 2022 and we’re looking forward to welcoming everyone back to the Copperbox in London.
I’m really looking forward to seeing NJIRC continue to be the shop front of inclusive rowing, inspiring the next generation of young people into the sport and inspire old rowers like myself to play my role in pushing the sport forward.”