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Page last updated at 10:29 GMT, Friday, 20 August 2010 11:29 UK

GB juniors follow rowing tradition

2010 Youth Olympic Games, Singapore
Dates: 12-26 August
Coverage: Highlights on the BBC Red Button, iPlayer and the BBC Sport website; Watch round-ups of the action on BBC 1 on Sat 21 Aug at 1350 BST and Sun 29 Aug at 1130

Georgia Howard-Merrill and Fiona Gammond

GB women triumph in rowing

By Ore Oduba
BBC Newsround presenter in Singapore

When British rowers take to the water these days rarely do they reach dry land without a medal, especially when Olympic rings are engraved on their chests.

So it was no surprise this week to see the the union jack hoisted aloft above the rowing lake in Singapore at the Youth Olympic Games. Georgia Howard-Merrill and Fiona Gammond's tight finish on Wednesday certainly refreshed some old memories.

The last three summer Games at senior level have seen Team GB accumulate an unrivalled collection of 13 Olympic medals in the water. That statistic can in part be attributed to Sir Steve Redgrave, thanks to his fifth and final gold , won in the coxless four at the Sydney Games in 2000.

Howard-Merrill and Gammond would only have been seven years old in 2000 but both recognize Steve Redgrave as an iconic Olympian

But also, for anyone who watched that Redgrave interview on the BBC after winning gold in Atlanta with Matthew Pinsent four years previously, gold in Australia was the climax of an incredible story starring an inspirational athlete.

If the Olympic Games are meant to motivate a generation, after watching the 29 sports on offer at those Millennium Games, rowing would have been the choice pick.

And that was indeed the case for two of Britain's current crop of rowing talent. Howard-Merrill and Gammond would only have been seven years old in 2000 but both recognize Steve Redgrave as an iconic Olympian.

Ore with Gammond and Howard-Merrill
Ore with youth champions Gammond and Howard-Merrill

In picking up a rowing gold at the Singapore Youth Games, these girls have continued a golden tradition for their country.

Hailing from Oxford, a veritable hotbed of oarsmen and women, Howard-Merrill and Gammond's lives on the river may support one theory that UK rowers are bred with a certain background.

However, Redgrave's astonishing 20-year career didn't follow that model and neither does the nationwide initiative he launched 10 years ago, Project Oarsome , by which Howard-Merrill was introduced to the sport.

The scheme, which aims to link state schools with rowing clubs to introduce the sport to young people from different backgrounds, ensured that when he eventually parted ways with Pinsent and the rest of the crew, the ripples of Redgrave would still be felt on waters up and down the country.

And on the showing here in Singapore, it seems to be working. Thankfully no one did shoot Sir Steve when he stepped back into a boat a decade ago!

Howard-Merrill and Gammond
Howard-Merrill and Gammond both come from Oxford

As fellow Eton College boys, Ed Nainby-Luxmoore and Caspar Jopling have been educated more from the Matthew Pinsent book of boating.

They may have missed out of the medals at these Youth Games, finishing fourth in their final, but they have certainly moved a step closer to emulating the achievements of their Olympic hero.

London 2012 may come too soon for both pairs, but seeing as Team GB's rowing medal tally has risen methodically over the last three Olympics don't be surprised if Britain's Singapore foursome help bring home a record haul four years later in Rio.



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see also
GB rowers win Youth Olympics gold
18 Aug 10 |  Olympics
Singapore set for Youth Olympics
13 Aug 10 |  Olympics
In pictures: Youth Olympics Team GB
13 Aug 10 |  Olympics
Rogge praises Youth Games spirit
11 Aug 10 |  Olympics
All about Ore
12 Aug 08 |  Presenters
Daley in GB Youth Olympics squad
13 Jul 10 |  London 2012
Daley dreams of gold in London
22 Jul 09 |  Diving


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