Cardinal Pole pupils meet Sir Steve Redgrave at rowing challenge

Students gifted chance to test Olympic facilities

Pupils from Cardinal Pole School in Hackney 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 Cardinal Pole, students from Stepney Green (Tower Hamlets), 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 Monique Pontifex, PE Teacher at Cardinal Pole, was proud of how her pupils competed and how far they had developed as rowers.

“It’s been fantastic to watch our students commit themselves to the EDF Community Rowing Challenge,” she said.

“It’s been wonderful to see them take on the spirit of the Games whilst developing their self-discipline, teamwork and communication skills.”

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It wasn’t just the teaching staff that were proud on the day, it was the Cardinal Pole pupils too.

“I never thought I’d enjoy rowing as much as I have,” said 14-year-old Edwina Asumang.

“We were nervous about rowing on the water at first, but with the training and coaching we’ve had, we were ready for the challenge.”

Redgrave added: “It was fantastic to watch these inspiring young athletes complete, especially when so few of them had even stepped into a boat before. It’s a wonderful achievement.“