A new fund aimed at helping future young rowers has been established from what started out as a fun Instagram account set up by the Irish women’s team that went on to Olympic Bronze in 2021.

The Big Strong Gorls (BSGs) fund will channel money earned through the sale of branded kit and merchandise via Powerhouse Sport towards financially supporting the next generation of junior girls within Rowing Ireland.

The idea of the BSGs came about at a senior women’s Rowing Ireland winter training camp in 2019.

A simple Instagram account that started off as a bit of fun tracking the team’s journey to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, has grown into a huge network of BSGs from all over the world.

While it is primarily a way for people to stay up to date with the training and racing schedule of the Irish senior rowing team, it is now also an outlet to showcase and support women and young girls in sport.

In 2021 the BSGs launched, in conjunction with Powerhouse Sport, a specially designed BSG rowing suit. This proved to be a hugely popular venture nationwide, with the combination of a demand for BSG rowing suits and the energy that it spread, specifically with younger crews, inspiring the team to create a legacy fund for young female rowers.

“Once we saw that Powerhouse were inundated with orders, and we started spotting the latest recruits training in the BSG colours at local clubs, international regattas, and even at the odd CrossFit gym, we were inspired to do more,” said  Olympic Bronze medallist and co-founder of the BSG brand, Aifric Keogh.

“The brand doesn’t just represent the senior international team anymore, it’s a community of athletes that empower and support each other.”

“With this in mind, it was an obvious choice to support the upcoming junior talent with the proceeds from the sales made thus far.”

“To increase the impact of this fund we have decided to design a full collection of custom BSG training kit. The line not only includes our latest BSG rowing suit, gilet and leggings – we’ve also catered for cyclists this time with a BSG cycling jersey and shorts plus some casual items for after training too.”

“By buying an item from the store you will be directly supporting the fund and in turn backing the next generation.”

The BSGs were established in 2019. They won European Championship medals in 2020, an Olympic medal in 2021 and World Championship medals in 2022. The aim is that this fund is not only a financial contribution but will also encourage and support the stars of the future to reach their potential and play their part in the BSG legacy.

It is a brilliant idea, born of the athletes themselves, and potentially making a huge contribution to those who will follow their lead in years to come.