Brookes unveils 2012 ambitions with new Centre for Rowing

Monday, 08 March 2010


Oxford Brookes University Boat Club, which has won planning permission for a new Centre for Rowing along the river Thames, now aims to raise £1 million to fund the building.

Oxford Brookes University Boat Club, which has won planning permission for a new Centre for Rowing along the river Thames, now aims to raise £1 million to fund the building.

Brookes' double Olympic gold medallist Steve Williams and head coach Richard Spratley will launch the fundraising campaign at the Centre for Sport at Gipsy Lane on Thursday March 11. They will talk about the new building and Brookes' role in preparing for the London Olympics in 2012.

The Centre for Rowing at Cholsey near Wallingford is due to be completed by early 2011 to allow the world-class squad as much use of the new facilities as possible before the Games.

Oxford Brookes University Boat Club has produced four Olympic gold medallists since 2000 and is the most powerful undergraduate rowing team in the UK, if not the world. It is one of five feeder squads for Team GB.

Keith Kelly, Director for Sport said: "Building the new boathouse will be yet another huge step forward for the Boat Club's already very strong team.

'The larger facility will further cement Oxford Brookes as one of the UK's pre-eminent rowing clubs and help us produce even more athletes that go on to represent their country at the very highest levels.

'The aim of the Centre for Rowing is to help our athletes attain elite levels but also encourage complete beginners to try the sport and become part of a young and extremely ambitious club.'

The training base will bring vital facilities under one roof and provide the additional capacity needed for Oxford Brookes athletes to win even more international success.

The team's year-on-year success under Richard Spratley means more room is needed to store world-class boats and build land-based training facilities.

Expanding the boathouse will bring a number of vital facilities under one roof including a gym housing rowing machines as well as warm-up and cool down areas required by world-class performers.

Oxford Brookes' rowers train for up to 25 hours a week. They currently divide their schedule between river-based training and a land-based rowing suite in the university's Centre for Sport 14 miles away from Wallingford.

The new building also features larger changing rooms for the club's male and female rowers. The squad has 50 elite athletes but changing facilities for just 12 men and six women.

The club brings complete novices up to Olympic level and has also started coaching local schoolchildren to encourage youngsters to take up rowing who would never normally consider it as a sport.

Oxford Brookes alumnus and Olympic gold medallist Ben Hunt-Davis will be talking about the success of the university's rowing club during a talk on Wednesday April 28.