Ballymena girl rows onto the world stage in Toronto
Qualifying within the top 10 females in the world put a smile on young Ballymena local Charlotte Dixon back in November. Now, it’s time for the 24 year old to better her qualifying times and step up against the best of the best in her World Championship senior debut.
This weekend, the World Rowing Indoor Championships 2023 are being held in Toronto, Canada. The international competition runs over 25th and 26th February. Competitors from USA, New Zealand, Germany and further afield will be competing to be crowned to World’s Champion Indoor Rower.
Like the Olympics, the World Championships will have various competitions. The “Versa” Challenge is a new format that involves different 5 races over the 2 set days of Saturday and Sunday. Competitors will not be made aware in advance of the distances or challenges within these races.
To qualify for this, athletes completed two virtual qualifiers back in November 2022. From the scores submitted, the top 10 men and women throughout the World were invited to compete in Toronto.
Representing GB, Dixon is the only athlete from this side of the water to qualify. Being no stranger to top level sport and indoor rowing, Dixon took the World title in 2021 for the U23 Female 500m.
“It’s really crazy to think that I am at this level, competing against the best in the world," Charlotte said. "I love this new format which is a lot longer than the 500m sprint format. The unknown element to the Versa section will really test the training and adaptability of the rowers this weekend.
“From my success in 2021, it introduced me to a space in GB’s Development Start Programme for rowing. So, I can row on the water now too as well as indoor!”
Dixon debuted at GB Senior Rowing Trials in November this year and produced a personal best to pull a qualifying time for Olympic selection.
“I’m still working and very much an amateur at rowing. I’m taking each step and trying to handle it with a very open mind and working out where there are opportunities for me. I owe a lot of my achievements to Scott McGarry from Gladiator Training in Ballymena. Scott started me on my rowing journey in 2019 when I wasn’t even a member of a gym.
“I also get great support from Mid and East Antrim Borough Council. I got to meet the Mayor of Ballymena last year with my family and friends and it’s great to feel like your local community is backing you.”
Follow Charlotte's progress over the weekend and tune in live. More information available on:
Keep informed with all of Charlotte’s updates by following her on Instagram @charlotte_.dixon
Good luck Charlotte!