RAF Corporal Victoria Needham, who is based at RAF Shawbury, is set to compete in a World Championship event this week.
Not unused to competing, Victoria’s usual sport is running where she competes for the RAF in the 10 km road race and 5 km on the track. She counts herself as one of the lucky ones, as an athlete she is still allowed to train and compete within the current government COVID guidelines.
As part of her fitness regime, RAF Physical Training Instructor Victoria devised an intense cardio session, one element of this is rowing. To see how good she was at rowing, she signed up to take part in an online indoor rowing event competing in the 2,000-meter race. She thought she had done quite well but it came as a complete surprise when she had an e-mail telling her she had qualified as the fastest competitor and selected to represent Team GB.
Victoria, who originates from York said: “When I opened the e-mail it was a total surprise, however, I realised it was both good and bad news for me. The good news was that I had a fantastic opportunity to represent my country and knowing that my training programme had paid off; the bad news was that I had to row the 2000m distance again and I know just how painful it was going to be when competing at that level!”
She will compete against 11 other qualifiers from other countries in the World Indoor Rowing Championship on Wednesday 24th February. Due to current worldwide COVID-19 limitations, the event will take place virtually online.
To ensure everyone taking part is above board and legal the organisers have made this as safe and legally validated as they can. Before the race competitors must be videoed at their weigh-in and part of this has to include the events synchronised countdown clock. During the race the rowing machines have to be calibrated to the events computer systems and a live video stream relayed to the organisers for the warm-up and race so they can verify each competitor.
If you would like to cheer Victoria on virtually you can see her race online at http://worldrowing.com and on World Rowing’s YouTube channel. She is competing in the Masters Lwt 30-39 Women 2000m Final at around midday on Wednesday 24 February.