21 May 2018
By Mary Bermingham
A dramatic showcase of skill, strength, and teamwork like no other, this year the annual Coupe de la Jeunesse will be hosted in Ireland. The last weekend of July, 27th to 29th July, will see young rowers from Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and all across Ireland descend upon Cork to battle it out upon the dark waters of Inniscarra Lake at the National Rowing Centre.
The Coupe de la Jeunesse is an annual international junior rowing regatta rowed over 2,000 metres. This two-day team event, which was founded in 1985 and is open to rowers 18 years or under, awards points to nations based on finishing position in each category. As a result, a strong overall team is required to take overall victory at the Coupe. The event has only ever been won by Great Britain (14 wins), Italy (11 wins), and France (8 wins). Each category is raced separately on the first and second day of the regatta, allowing for different Coupe de la Jeunesse event winners on each day. Ireland performed exceptionally well last year, highlighting our young talent in this growing Irish sport, bringing home a total of 5 Gold medals across the women’s pair and men’s quadruple categories. Rowing Ireland has been a proud member of the Coupe rowing family for many years and have had the pleasure of hosting this event in 1999 and 2008. The regatta, which encourages young rowers, has become a platform in Ireland for starting the international careers of some of our most successful and decorated Irish rowers such as Gary O‘Donovan and Shane O’Driscoll.
An event such as this would not would not be possible without the support of Cork County Council. During his welcoming address, County Mayor Cllr Declan Hurley has urged those taking part in the Coupe de la Jeunesse to take the opportunity to explore Cork during their downtime, “I would like to welcome all the visiting athletes, their coaches, families and supporters to our great county and commend these young rowers for the hard work, passion and dedication that has brought them here. While this is a competition, I wish to remind all participants to take some time to enjoy all that this county has to offer. Cork is truly a remarkable place with so much to do, see and experience. Go and kiss the Blarney Stone; take a trip on the Dursey Island Cable Car, running 250m above the sea; visit Mizen Head, the most south-westerly point in Ireland or sample some mouth-watering Cork artisan produce. There is so much to do in our beautiful county, I hope you enjoy each and every minute.”
Nestled in the picturesque Farran Wood, just 25 minutes from the bustling Cork City Centre, the Irish National Rowing Centre acts as both the base for the Irish High-Performance team and also the venue for Coupe de la Jeunesse 2018. The course facilities have been upgraded in recent years and now consist of an eight-lane Albano course with adjustable start, split timing and photo finish system. Annually, it hosts the Irish Championships in July with a record 1,500 crews participating in 2017.
Speaking at the launch of the 2018 Coupe de la Jeunesse, Michelle Carpenter, new Chief Executive of Rowing Ireland commented, “We are so excited to welcome young rowers from 13 countries across Europe to our fantastic home here at the National Rowing Centre in Farran Wood this July. To have the pleasure of announcing Ireland as host of this prestigious race as one of my first roles in my new position as CEO is such an honour. This is an event which I hold dear to my heart as I have been heavily involved in the Coupe for the last four years and have witnessed first-hand what a great opportunity this is for up and coming young rowers to grow.
“Rowing is such a historic sport, but beyond that, its reliance on teamwork and seamless synchronization forms bounds of friendship and family that really stand the test of time. If you can battle the waters together, you can achieve anything! I cannot wait for Cork to open its arms once again to the visiting Coupe family. While rowing is where the excitement lies, competitors and their families are always blown away by Cork’s friendliness, culture and scenic nature. I have no doubt our great county will pull out all stops, as always, to support our competitors, both home and foreign, this July.”
Trials are currently underway with hundreds of hopeful male and female young athletes trying to secure their place on the Irish 2018 Coupe de la Jeunesse team. The fourth and final trial is taking place on Friday 18th May, after which the selection panel will review these young rowers’ performance during trials, and also take into account their previous rowing history, in order to complete the difficult task of whittling down this talented group to a team of 17 rowers who will represent Ireland on this international stage as the home team.
For more information on the Coupe de la Jeunesse see www.coupe2018.ie. For more information on other upcoming Rowing Ireland events or to find out how you can “get going and get rowing” visit the Rowing Ireland website www.rowingireland.ie, or follow them on Facebook and Instagramrowingireland or Twitter @RowingIrelandFollow TheCork.ie (The Online Newspaper for Cork, Ireland) on social media