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British Rowing Association Championships the target for Newark Rowing Club's James Gleed after virtual success

A 13-year-old who is yet to race on the water surprised all when he won gold in the British Indoor Rowing Championships.

James Gleed, of Staunton, stormed to victory in the first ever virtual 500m race, beating stiff competition from Henley Rowing Club in the year eight category.

THUMBS up from James Gleed after taking gold from home.
THUMBS up from James Gleed after taking gold from home.

Gleed, who races with Newark Rowing Club, is relatively new to the sport and has yet to take part in his first regatta since joining the club last summer.

“He started rowing in September before the floods saw numerous races cancelled,” said his mum Andrea, who is an avid rower.

“When he moved to indoor training he developed a real love for indoor rowing, and that is why it was such an achievement for him to win.”

Having never raced competitively — first due to the flooding and then more recently because of lockdown — James, who goes by Jim, entered the championships because of his impressive times while using the rower for fitness.

As a former rower, his mum recognised his strong times, and entered him into the event.

“Concept Two, the makers of the rower, has a ranking system and he is unlucky because he has just turned 13 so he is in the 13 to 18 category,” she said.

“But he is still high up — he is 20th overall.

“It is very good, given his age, and he is doing it all off his own back.”

James Gleed (37478132)
James Gleed (37478132)

Jim edged a 1.6 second win in the 500m race over Jacob Len, of Henley, and held a 3.4 second gap over third-placed Tom Softley, of Trentham Boat Club.

“He could be quite dangerous (when he gets out on the water),” said Andrea.

“His first regatta was due the weekend after we went into lockdown and that would have been his first race on the water.

“He might be new to the sport but he has the physique for it — he weighs 72kg and he is all muscle. It has been a great way of channelling his energy.”

Jim, who is heading into year nine, now has his sights on making his debut for Newark on the water, while long term, he hoped to compete at the British Rowing Association Championships in December.

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