A Year 8 student from an East Lancashire school will compete in the final of a national rowing competition at the Olympic Park in London today (March 1).

Essa, who attends The Hyndburn Academy in Rishton, will head to the Copper Box Arena in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park for the final of the National Junior Indoor Rowing Championships.

There, he will join 2,000 other students in years 7 to 13 from across the country, who will be taking part in both individual and relay events in a bid to take home a national title.

Rather than in boats on the water, indoor rowing takes place on rowing machines such as those found in most gyms, making the sport, which carries a reputation of being elitist, more accessible to people from all backgrounds.

To earn his place in the final, Essa rowed through multiple rounds of regional races, the most recent of which was at Birchwood School in Warrington in January alongside 300 other competitors.

Essa first took up rowing in September and has been attending weekly training sessions at Salford Watersports Centre to refine his technique along with a team of nine other students from the academy.

Speaking about his achievement, Essa said: "Making it to the finals is incredible!

"I am nervous because I only started rowing last September with school, but I've worked really hard to get here.

"It's been an amazing journey, and I'm excited to see what I can do in the finals."

Nicola Palmer, headteacher at Hyndburn Academy, said: “We are so proud of Essa for reaching the national final – a huge achievement.

"Since taking up rowing in September, Essa has made tremendous progress and has shown incredible enthusiasm and dedication to the sport.

"He is a fantastic representative of our school, and we wish him the very best of luck at the final in London.”