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Solid gold displays at indoor rowing event

STRATFORD Boat Club’s adaptive squad claimed three gold medals and four personal bests at the British Rowing Indoor Championships (BRIC) which attracted more than 1,500competitiors to Birmingham’s NEC at the weekend, reports Chris Best.

Jake Blatcher, competing in BRIC for the first time, came 25th in the Open 2,000m and 16th in the Open 500m with an excellent 1:35mins split time. He completed his 2k race in 7:04mins – just three seconds short of his personal best – but completed the 500m in a new best time.

Curtis Dickens, who has been selected for British Rowing’s GB World Class Rowing Programme, won gold in the PR2 2,000m category. It was a close race in the middle, but he powered ahead in the latter stages, winning with a comfortable lead, maintaining a steady rate to finish in 7:55.

Curtis Dickens takes a breather at the NEC event
Curtis Dickens takes a breather at the NEC event

Isaac Clarkson won gold in the Year 9 PR3 category and was 13th out of 55 competitors in the mainstream Year 9 boys. Isaac went on to win a second gold in the Year 9 PR3 One Minute category, securing two personal best times along the way as he continues to go from strength to strength as the youngest PR3 accredited rower in the UK. Isaac is also Stratford Boat Club’s youngest adaptive rower.

His father, Courtland Clarkson, said: “It was a superbly organised event with a great atmosphere and lots of friendly rivalry across the clubs and schools. It’s definitely an event for the race calendar from now on.”

Ellis Bishop also represented the club’s participation squad and, despite only rowing for a year and having minimal training time indoors, he came a credible 11th in the 500m Year 11 boys’ race.

Participation squad coach Ralph Johnson said: “Ellis was very nervous with this being his first major competition, but he followed his race plan perfectly to come through in the last 50m as others around him faded.

“Having doubted himself, Ellis was understandably pleased with his performance which should hopefully stand him in good stead for future races in the New Year.”

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