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Students gifted chance to try out Olympic facilities

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Pupils from Stepney Green School in Tower Hamlets were gifted the chance to meet Britain’s most successful Olympian Sir Steve Redgrave, CBE, after taking part in the EDF Community Rowing Challenge last week.

The challenge culminated in a regatta race at Eton Dorney Rowing Centre, where the Olympic Games rowing events will take place, with Katherine Grainger, Britain’s most successful female rower, and Paralympic rowing champion Tom Aggar, also in attendance.

Along with Stepney Green, students from Cardinal Pole (Hackney), Royal Liberty (Havering), Palmer Catholic Academy (Redbridge), and Connaught (Waltham Forest) schools also took part in the final.

Royal Liberty School won the overall challenge, but Martin Smith, head of PE at Stepney Green, was proud of how his pupils competed and how far they had developed as rowers.

“It’s remarkable how much our pupils have achieved in such a short space of time,” he said.

“We’ve seen them develop into confident, talented rowers, ready to take on quite a daunting challenge.

“Working with the likes of Tom Aggar has truly inspired them to fulfil their ambitions – in sport, at school or in life in general.”

However, it wasn’t just the pupils’ teacher who was proud of Stepney Green’s efforts, it was the students too.

“I feel really proud of myself to have rowed at the London 2012 venue,” said 15-year-old Shah Ziaur Rahman.

“We didn’t think we could do it but we have and it was so much fun.

“I can now tell all my friends that I rowed at the same place where Olympic athletes will race in London 2012 – not many people can say that!”

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