With just one year to go until Britain hosts the 2012 Olympic Games, last month Royal Holloway played host to elite junior rowers from across the globe. The rowers were competing in an international regatta, which took place between 3rd and 7th August and was held at nearby Eton Dorney Lake. Athletes from forty-five national junior squads were accommodated by Royal Holloway during the World Rowing Junior Championships, which was organised by the International Rowing Federation (FISA).
August’s regatta was seen as something of a trial run in preparation for the Olympic rowing events scheduled to take place at Dorney Lake next year. The organisers got the chance to test rescheduling possibilities in the event of adverse weather conditions, such as strong cross-winds, which are a problem in multilane races as crews on the less sheltered part of the lake are at a disadvantage. FISA chairman and vice-president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Denis Oswald, pointed out that ‘changing the competition times is a good rehearsal
for next year, because over one full week you can hardly expect conditions to be perfect every day. More or less every Olympics we’ve had at least one day where we’ve had to adjust the timetable. It’s a good exercise for us and for the organising committee.’
Royal Holloway enjoys an established connection with rowing. Medical Biochemistry graduate Helene Raynsford competed in the rowing events at the Beijing Paralympic Games, achieving a gold medal. Also, in the Beijing Olympic Games, psychology graduate Jessica Eddie was part of the GB women’s eight team, coming fifth, and former Economics student Rodrigo Ideus Forero made history by being the first Columbian rower to compete in an Olympic Games.
Chairman of the Organising Committee, Ben Hunt-Davis, said: ‘We are delighted that Royal Holloway, University of London was able to accommodate all of the teams during the Championships. It is a wonderful venue with all of the facilities we need in close proximity to Dorney Lake.’