I am thrilled to once again be Patron of the British Rowing Junior Championships, especially in this Olympic and Paralympic year where we have the opportunity to discover the stars of the future.
Watching talent develop has always been a subject close to my heart and it is great to be supporting the best junior rowing talent in the UK as they battle to become British Rowing Junior Champion 2016. As Chef de Mission for the Youth Olympic Games in 2014, I led the 13 different sports that came together to compete in Nanjing. It made me realise just how much our sport embodies the Olympic values of Respect, Excellence and Friendship.
It is important to us that these Championships work well for everyone. Once again the organisers of the British Rowing Champs have responded to feedback and are pleased to announce major changes to the J14 racing. The single and double sculls will be raced on the Friday afternoon in a format that will be both fun and challenging. The races will be shorter than 2000m and will be omnium style with a combination of side-by-side racing alongside skills based tests. It should be exciting to both watch and participate in.
It is your experiences and feedback that continue to help this important event evolve and grow.
I know that rowing is the most amazing sport to be involved in and one that can be enjoyed whatever your age. I didn’t start rowing until I was 20 but once I got the 'bug' there was no stopping me – so you are ahead of my journey. Sitting on that start line at these Junior Championships will give you the opportunity to test yourself against your peers and take your participation to another level. Win, lose or draw you should view each racing experience as an opportunity to test your progress – just as I did.
These Junior Championships guarantee that everyone competes as equals and, unlike other events that are more selective or based on school crews, this regatta is open to everyone at a club level. There is only one criteria for the weekend – go out and enjoy your rowing.
Being involved in the Junior Championships again is an honour and I look forward to joining you again at Nottingham in July.
Sarah Winckless MBE – Patron
Olympic bronze medallist and double World Champion, member of the GB Rowing squad for 12 years. Chair of the British Olympic Athletes Commission 2010-2014 and Chef de Mission for the 2014 Youth Olympic Games, Nanjing.