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York named British Rowing World Class Start centre

Posted on 4 May 2017

The University of York has been recognised as one of 10 British Rowing centres in the UK for the development of its World Class Start Olympic pathway programme.

World Class Start is a high performance training programme that identifies, trains and develops potential Olympic athletes, aged between 14-22, towards achieving a place on the GB Rowing Team.

In 2015, the University of York was named the British Rowing World Class Start centre for Yorkshire. British Rowing’s latest decision extends the status of the centre and continuation of the programme until March 2021.

Prospective athletes do not need previous experience in rowing, and are identified based on their physical attributes and willingness to work hard. Each centre employs a full time coach to work with athletes on their journey to becoming elite rowers.

City-wide collaboration

The University hosts World Class Start but delivery is city-wide through collaboration with York City Rowing Club.

Athletes identified as suitable for the programme develop their land-based training at the University’s York Sport Centre and Boat Club, while water-based training takes place from both the University and City of York boat houses on the River Ouse.

York’s World Class Start centre currently has six athletes training to become elite rowers. Run by British Rowing coach Matthew Paul, the centre’s achievements in recent years include athletes winning national titles and catching the eye of GB Rowing Team coaches at Senior and Under 23 Trials.

One athlete, Stuart Hosie, has recently been recognised as Active York Sportsman of the Year, benefitting from additional support as a University of York Santander Sports Scholar.

Sports investment

Keith Morris, Head of Sport at the University of York, said: “We were delighted to initially gain recognition as a World Class Start centre for Yorkshire back in 2015 but are even more so now the partnership has been extended. We believe York’s status as a regional centre recognises our close working relationship with British Rowing and supports the University and the York City Rowing Club’s investment in facilities and coaching support for rowers.”

Sir David Tanner, British Rowing’s Performance Director, said: “World Class Start plays such an important role in discovering future Olympic rowers. As part of the programme you’ll have access to one-to-one coaching, attend training camps and meet other athletes who dream of winning Olympic gold. Great Britain has a strong tradition of developing world-class rowers and with Start's help you could be on the podium at the 2024 Olympic Games.”

Further information:

  • Those interested in World Class Start can sign up for testing by completing the application form at If you live within the Yorkshire region or are a current or prospective student wishing to come to the University of York and think you may have what it takes to become an Olympic Rower, please contact Matthew Paul via email on
  • Prospective rowers do not need to have any experience in the sport to gain a place on the programme. Females need to be aged between 14 – 22 and over 178cm tall, while males need to be aged between 14-20 and 188cm or taller to be considered.
  • For more information about the University of York’s Boat Club visit:, and for further information about York City Rowing Club, visit:
  • To find out more about British Rowing Start centres, visit:

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