Suffolk: Rowing clubs inundated following Olympic success

ROWING clubs in Suffolk have a clutch of new recruits inspired by the success of British oarsmen at the Olympics.

Team GB’s record medal haul in the rowing events has prompted people to call their local clubs, eager to have a go at the sport. But some groups are struggling to cope with the demand.

Sudbury Rowing Club has received around 40 requests since the Games started, according to chairman Mike Arnott, who admits the club currently does not have the manpower to coach all those who have got in touch.

He said: “We’ve had a lot of calls as a direct result of the Olympic Games and it’s a great position to be in. But our next job is to try and deal with so many new people at once.

“Learning to row isn’t that straightforward – it’s quite labour-intensive and requires one-on-one tuition at first. We are made up of volunteers and we haven’t got enough people who can give up their time.”

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At Beccles Rowing club, chairman, Robin de Vere Green, said he “can’t keep up” with the number of inquiries.

He added: “I must have had 10 people telephone me wanting to give rowing a try. We do get a few from time to time but the numbers have surged. We hope after trying it some will take to it, but inevitably, some will drop out when they discover it’s not as easy as jumping in a boat and collecting a gold medal.”

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Founder of Deben Rowing Club on Woodbridge waterfront, Terry Davey, said inquiries were coming from all age groups, adding: “I’ve had five or six people contact me this week.

“Two were as young as 14 and one woman was definitely older than me and I’m 68. People are now more inclined to give rowing a go because it is regarded as less elitist than it was a few years ago.”

Geoff Steven, president of Lowestoft Rowing Club, said the increase in demand showed people were willing to try new sports, given the right encouragement. The club is holding an open day at Nicholas Everitt Park, Oulton Broad on Sunday, August 12 from 1pm to 5pm, to give people the opportunity to try out rowing.

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