Rower's oar-some time nets world championship qualification

A Shropshire rower put in an oar-some performance to be selected for Team GB.

Corporal Victoria Needham has qualified for the rowing world championship finals. Photo: MOD
Corporal Victoria Needham has qualified for the rowing world championship finals. Photo: MOD

Corporal Victoria Needham from RAF Shawbury will compete for her country in the virtual World Indoor Rowing Championship on Wednesday, February 24 after qualifying as fastest in the country.

Physical training instructor Victoria is more used to competing for the RAF in running events, being a regular in 10km road races and 5km track contests. She decided to enter the rowing challenge online to test herself in another discipline, and did far better than she expected.

Victoria, originally from York, said: “When I opened the e-mail it was a total surprise, however, I realised it was both good and bad news for me. The good news was that I had a fantastic opportunity to represent my country and knowing that my training programme had paid off; the bad news was that I had to row the 2,000m distance again and I know just how painful it was going to be when competing at that level!”

She will compete against 11 other qualifiers from other countries. To ensure everyone taking part is above board and legal, race competitors must be videoed at their weigh-in and part of this has to include the event's synchronised countdown clock. During the race the rowing machines have to be calibrated to the events computer systems and a live video stream relayed to the organisers for the warm-up and race so they can verify each competitor.

If you would like to cheer Victoria on virtually you can see her race online at worldrowing.com and on World Rowing’s YouTube channel. She is competing in the Masters lightweight 30-39 Women 2,000m Final at around midday.

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