Veteran rowers cause a stir

ISLE of Ely Rowing Club veterans Trevor Littlewood and Rodney Atkinson notched up a first for the club when they entered the Masters National Championships at the weekend.

As the first entry in this national event specifically staged for veteran competitors, Littlewood and Atkinson raced in the Masters F coxless pairs category for rowers in the 60-65 age range.

At other events, the Ely rowers have difficulty finding competitors of their own age and generally compete against younger crews using a handicap system, so the championships gave them a rare opportunity to test themselves against other crews of their own age.

Weather conditions started badly and deteriorated during the day and by the time the Master’s F pairs race was called at 6pm, the early evening was more reminiscent of November than mid-June.

Battling against torrential rain and a strong headwind down the 1000m multi-lane course, Littlewood and Atkinson managed to hold on to third place, crossing the finishing line in 4 mins 20 secs.

The Ely pair narrowly beat rivals from Nottingham Rowing Club, whilst crews from Wallingford and Belfast fought it out for first and second places respectively.

Littlewood said: “We’re really pleased to have beaten Nottingham and this has been an excellent benchmarking opportunity for us. We now know the standard we have to aim for next time.”

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Club captain, Teresa Aslett, praised the veterans’ determination: “The conditions were appalling and yet the Ely veteran pair were completely undaunted and gave a very creditable performance. We’re looking forward to competing again next year.”