The GB Rowing Team men’s squad will kick off the new Olympic year with a training camp at the home of England football, St. George’s Park.
British Rowing’s men’s squad would usually travel abroad for their annual January training camp, but the world-class facilities of St. George’s Park in Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire presented an appealing option within the UK.
Men’s sculling lead coach Paul Stannard said: “With the pandemic making our usual training camp venues unavailable, we were looking at a number of options for a UK-based land training camp. St. George's Park fits the bill extremely well and the staff there have been very efficient and flexible in helping us create an exciting first camp of 2021 in a COVID-secure environment.”
Director of Performance Brendan Purcell said: “We are very grateful to be able to continue our training for the Olympic and Paralympic Games during this extremely difficult time for the UK. St. George’s Park is a fantastic venue with world-class performance facilities and it will be a great experience for the squad to train there.”
St. George’s Park general manager Holly Murdoch said: “These are challenging times for all and we are grateful that elite sport is allowed to continue at the moment, and in particular that we can welcome the GB Rowing Team men’s squad to St. George’s Park.
“With the Olympics and Paralympics to come this year, I know our world-class venue will provide the perfect platform for British Rowing to build for success in 2021.
“While we are proud to be the home of our England teams, it is another reminder of St.George’s Park’s significant appeal. Our state-of-the-art performance facilities continue to attract the best of elite sport in this country from tennis and cycling to rugby and cricket, as well as drawing international competitors from across the globe.”
Rio 2016 Olympian Jonny Walton said: “I feel very fortunate to be given the opportunity to train at the FA’s facility at St. George’s Park. I’m not sure if the pitches are ready for the quality of our football but I’m sure we will get some top land training in during this block.”
All three of British Rowing’s senior squads (men’s, women’s and para-rowing) have undergone COVID testing after the Christmas break before they reconvene for their respective camps.
The women’s squad will head to their January camp in Avis, Portugal with extensive COVID mitigations in place, while the para-rowing squad have chosen to take advantage of the extra space at British Rowing’s high performance centre at Caversham.
British Rowing is the first elite sport to visit St. George’s Park in 2021, with Gareth Southgate’s England senior men’s football team set to prepare for the summer UEFA European Championship at the Burton base later this year. In the past, England Cricket and Team Sky cycling have been among those to make use of the array of performance facilities, as have tennis great Andy Murray and international clubs like FC Barcelona.
Images by Aitor Colomer/SAS, 2019.