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Hackney rowing prospects aim for opportunity in America

PUBLISHED: 18:03 04 February 2015 | UPDATED: 18:03 04 February 2015

Princeton rowing coach William Manning with Mossbourne Academy students (left to right): Kesiah Roe, Jucha Willers-Moore and Elias Kassel Raymond.

Princeton rowing coach William Manning with Mossbourne Academy students (left to right): Kesiah Roe, Jucha Willers-Moore and Elias Kassel Raymond.

Archant

Mossbourne Academy Rowing Club have built on their impressive displays at the British Championships, as its finest rowers look set to blaze a pathway across the pond.

The Hackney school was put firmly on the map as a nationally recognised rowing club following their performances at the National Water Sports Centre in Nottingham back in the autumn.

Now the club hope to secure a partnership with the prestigious Princeton University in the United States, after the head coach of the American college’s rowing squad visited Hackney Downs last week.

William Manning, who is a respected figure in the sport after working with the US Olympic crew for Athens 2004 prior to moving to Princeton University last year, is optimistic of an eternal bond between Hackney and New Jersey.

“The reason for my visit was to make these children aware that the opportunity to come to America is a real possibility,” said Manning, who spent 16 years at Harvard University coaching the sport before his move to Princeton.

“I came over here to find out all about the rowing programme Mossbourne offer, and how they’ve managed the success they’ve had in a short space of time. What some of these guys have achieved is phenomenal.

“Britain has a great reputation for producing the best rowers in the world, and it’s refreshing to see a school from Hackney building a bridge, allowing these students to access what is an expensive sport.

“The opportunity they provide is outstanding and I’m confident it won’t be long before a Mossbournian will be racing for the Princeton Tigers in a big Ivy League rowing meet.”

Mossbourne’s Academy director Jack Kliber is delighted with the progress being made in establishing the school as a breeding ground for future British rowing talent.

The new partnership with Princeton will open up the possibility for students to be offered scholarships to study and row in the States, based on a number of factors that include rowing ability, academic ability and family income.

“It’s a sign that the number of high profile success stories this season is being recognised,” Kliber told the Gazette. “It’s great that he complimented our students on the quality of their rowing.

“A British record, a European Open medal and a string of Great Britain hopefuls justified the head coach’s trip over from Princeton. Manning knows first-hand what it takes to make it to the very top as a rower.”

Mossbourne’s programme has already provided students with a platform for success, with Olu Olatunde going on from Mossbourne to study and row at the University of North Carolina last year.

There is also a possibility of more students competing in the States next year, with Washington University, a powerhouse in US rowing, due to meet another rower from Mossbourne later next month.

Some of the successes within the programme in recent times include a British record. Sam Nunn – who has been rowing for three years with Mossbourne – holds the indoor British record and recently travelled to the European Open held in Holland.

Competing in the Under-23 category at just 18, Sam claimed the silver medal, just two seconds behind first place.

To find out more about Mossbourne Academy’s rowing academy, visit their website at www.mossbourne.hackney.sch.uk

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