The ‘Coupe de la Jeunesse’ regatta is an annual clash between the upcoming talent of 12 Western European nations with this year’s event raced in Szeged, Hungary. Ireland sent a strong team and returned with 2 Golds, 2 Silvers and a Bronze. On top of a successful medal haul, it was announced that Ireland was awarded the 2018 meet.
It was 7 years ago when the Coupe was last held in Ireland and I was lucky enough to have been selected for the squad that year. At the time I remember secretly feeling quite cheated that we didn’t get to travel abroad to race but this was quickly eliminated once the crowds arrived in their hundreds to support the host nation. It also served as a somewhat calming mechanism as we raced along the Iniscarra course to which we were all very familiar with. As my first time racing for Ireland, it was an amazing experience and one which I will always remember. It was a highly successful weekend for Ireland with a total tally of 8 medals.
With confirmation of it returning to our shores in just 3 years, it’s time to focus on producing another spectacular weekend at the National Rowing Centre in Farran Woods. The J14 and J15 rowers across the country with a desire to compete internationally should have their minds set firmly on this target. Setting goals for the future can sometimes be scary and daunting. I remember being terrified of saying out loud that I wanted to get selected for the Coupe squad because I was afraid I wouldn’t make it, but I quickly discovered having an ambitious goal to work towards is crucial in order to progress. If today’s juniors work hard and commit to their goals there’s no reason why the Irish team can’t win the overall top nation prize in 3 years time.
With last weekend providing a great deal of inspiration for the next cycle of juniors, there’s already amazing results to push on from. ‘If you believe it, you can achieve it’ -I certainly have full faith in the younger generation of our sport, they just need to believe in themselves. If they have that confidence and belief, they’re half-way there.