The British Rowing Awards, held annually to recognise those who have made a great contribution to the sport at grass-roots level, would normally have been awarded at a gala event in March. This year, as for so many, things are rather different, so the winners are being announced online, with one category being revealed on each day between 25th December 2020 and 1st January 2021.

 

Tees Rowing Club entered several crews, but were delighted to discover earlier this year that our Junior Men's Double Scull (2x) had been shortlisted in the Junior Crew of the Year category, alongside the likes of the Eton College Eight (8+) who won at Henley Royal Regatta this year, and others of a similar high calibre.

 

It is with huge pride and delight that we're now able to announce that Tees Rowing Club athletes Callum Holdsworth and Mazyar Amini have won the British Rowing Junior Crew of the Year award.

The citation given by their coach, Kate O'Sullivan reads as follows:

 

“Success comes in many guises and whilst Callum and Mazyar may not have won National Schools they have each overcome a different challenge in order to form a competitive crew who have won several regattas and head races in 2018 and 2019, and competed at National events such as Junior Inter Regional Regatta, British Rowing Indoor Championships, National Schools Regatta, British Junior Rowing Championships.

 

Mazyar arrived in the UK in 2017 as an asylum seeker from Iran, his journey was an extremely difficult one, he was separated from his mother and had lost his base fitness. On arriving in Stockton after being reunited with his Mum after four months separation, in his first week he sought out the opportunity to take up rowing (last enjoyed aged 14 back in Iran).

From the outset he and Callum really supported each other both on the water, in the gym and with their academic studies. Each has had their own challenges to overcome and competitive rowing has been instrumental in helping Mazyar to adjust to a new life in the UK and excel in his rowing and studies which is no mean feat given his level of English when he arrived and the experiences he had endured. Mazyar also regularly volunteers with Stockton Borough Council.

 

Callum,who is a multi-sensory learner, has worked incredibly hard to develop strategies that enable him to control his anxiety in social situations and to develop his communication skills, which have led him to start coaching, working as a life guard and also to be voted in as Junior Captain of Tees RC by his peers for 2019 to 2020.

 

Both Callum and Mazyar have proven themselves to be really talented athletes and coaches, generously giving their time to support the younger club members and those on the Junior Learn to Row programmes, It is no exaggeration to say that the manner in which they conduct themselves on and off the water has inspired a new generation of competitive juniors at Tees RC who really look up to them both. These boys have a very bright future ahead of them and both have ambitions to take their rowing much further. It has been my privilege two witness two awkward boys develop into two principled and disciplined young men. The best is yet to come.”

 

Alongside their rowing, both boys were successful in their academic studies, and have since progressed to university.