08:00AM, Friday 19 June 2020
A return to the Redgrave Pinsent Rowing Lake in Caversham is on the cards for Great Britain’s rowers next month in line with government guidance on the return of elite training.
British Rowing has put plans in place to get the GB rowing team back out on the water at the national training centre, and its director of performance Brendan Purcell, said: “Our highest priority is the wellbeing of our athletes, staff and community and as such we are taking our time to make sure we get things right. We want to ensure that when the team does return to full training, they are able to do so in an environment that is safe and effective.”
The country’s best rowers are usually based around the centre in Caversham, with many living in towns such as Marlow and Maidenhead, however, many travelled back to stay with family across the UK before the country went into lockdown in March. The squad has been training from home, using rowing machines, bikes and home weights, but, inline with British Rowing advice, they are now able to carry out on-water training in consultation with their coach.
Maidenhead’s Jack Beaumont posted a video of him in a single scull on the Thames this week, but this water activity is limited to low-intensity technical work for safety while a blueprint for a gradual and safe return to the water is being thought through.
However, with the Olympics and Paralympic Games set to take place in Tokyo next summer, British Rowing has now given its athletes a timeline for when central training will resume at Caversham. A team has been carrying out a deep clean and maintenance of the facility to ensure rowers can train in a ‘COVID-19 safe’ environment.
Throughout July the doors of the centre will be reopened to a small cohort of GB athletes who are still living locally. This will enable British Rowing to test out its COVID-19 processes and give them more of an understanding as to how they can scale things up for all of its GB rowers.
Brendan added: “Each person has different circumstances at the moment – whether that be to do with health, family, work or childcare – and as such our athletes and staff will need to go through an active opt-in process before they return to Caversham, supported by our chief medical officer, our psychologist and Performance Lifestyle advisors. A modified process will also be adopted by our World Class Start athletes training in remote centres around the UK.
“Our British Rowing employed coaches based in England, such as our World Class Start coaches, have also been given the go-ahead to carry out coached sessions on the water in their clubs, subject to social distancing and all other Government and public health guidance. This requires extensive risk assessments with the individual venues and coaches and as such the training of our different centres will resume at different speeds.
“This has been a difficult year for the world and certainly an unprecedented year for everyone involved in Olympic and Paralympic sport. Through these unusual times we have seen our team of rowers, coaches and staff work together in new and exciting ways and we can go into the 2021 season full of confidence.”
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