Henley Royal Regatta announced the election of three new Stewards following their annual general meeting on Tuesday, December 14 2021. Aquil Abdullah, Jess Eddie and Adam Freeman-Pask were elected Stewards of Henley Royal Regatta. The Stewards are responsible for the helping to run an a well-organised Regatta each year, and have been since 1885.
“On behalf of the Stewards of Henley Royal Regatta, I am pleased to welcome Aquil, Jess and Adam,” Sir Steve Redgrave, Chairman of the Committee of Management, said. “The Stewards are the heartbeat of the Regatta. It is their responsibility to make sure that Henley remains true to its founding principles whilst always continuing to lead the way.
“There are always new challenges for each generation – something the past two years has emphasised if there was any doubt – and we have gone from strength to strength by renewing ourselves. Our new Stewards embody all the virtues of the Regatta, they have given much already and we look forward to much more.”
Aquil Abdullah, 48, won the USA rowing national championships in 1996 in the single sculls competition and co-authored a book with Chris Ingraham titled Perfect Balance in 2001, after his failure to qualify for the 2000 Summer Olympics by 0.33 of a second.
He won The Diamond Challenge Sculls at the Regatta in 2000 as a heavy crowd favourite, with many spectators remembering him for breaking his foot stretcher while racing at Henley the previous year. He went on to represent the USA at the 2001 and 2002 World Rowing Championships and came 6th in the men’s double sculls at the Athens 2004 Olympics.
He remains heavily involved in rowing and is an active member of the National Rowing Foundation board and is also helping to lead the Pocock Rowing Foundation’s ‘A Most Beautiful Thing Inclusion Fund’, as its chairman, to promote inclusion in rowing. Abdullah is an instructor on the rapidly growing Hydrow platform, and as a software developer by trade is also writing code for the company.
Jess Eddie, 37, is a familiar face at Henley Royal Regatta, and since 2019 works as a curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Eddie retired from international rowing after winning an Olympic silver medal in the women’s eight at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. She has become a key part of the HRR television commentary and social media team.
Eddie won The Remenham Challenge Cup (women’s eight) on her first appearance in 2004, the first of eight appearances and four victories in the eights. In 2021, she doubled up in spectacular fashion, making it to the quarter finals of The Stonor Challenge Trophy (women’s double sculls), with fellow Olympian Katie Greves.
Adam Freeman-Pask, 36, was part of the British lightweight rowing team from 2008 to 2015. He won the Scullers Head, British Senior Trials and all three World Cups in different disciplines before obtaining selection for Team GB at the London 2012 Games as the lightweight reserve athlete. He won silver in the 2012 European Championships and bronze in the 2013 World Championships in the lightweight coxless four.
Since retiring Freeman-Pask has volunteered to help rowing programmes at home and abroad, including the Future Hope charity in Kolkata, helping orphans gain access to the sport. He has a good grasp of the wider sporting landscape through his day job as Head of Partner Support at Sport England, and he also volunteers as part of the Regatta commentary team.
The 2022 Regatta will be held from Tuesday, 28 June to Sunday, 3 July. Be sure to badger Aquil, Jess and Adam for tickets.