Having spent two weeks on their training camp at Ebenezer Dam in Tzaneen, the RMB National Squad departed on Monday 19 August for the 2019 World Rowing Championships in Linz-Ottensheim, Austria.
Whilst the Senior Team usually trains at Roodeplaat Dam, it moved its training camp to Ebenezer Dam in Limpopo province to train in conditions (such as heat and humidity) similar to those they will experience at Worlds .
The training camp also brings a higher level of focus on the task ahead.
The 2019 World Rowing Championships, to be held from 25 August to 1 September, doubles as the main qualification event for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. This has played a part in attracting nearly 1 200 athletes from 80 nations. This includes the biggest number of para-rowers ever at a World Rowing Championships.
The South African Senior National Squad boat class entries include:
- Women’s Pair with athletes Tayla-May Bentley and Jessica Schoonbee, silver medal winners at the recent U23 World Championships hosted in Florida
- USA Silver and Olympic Gold medallists, Lawrence Brittain and John Smith, are crewing the Men’s Heavyweight Pair
- Men’s double sculls and bronze medal winners at the FISUA World University Championships in Shanghai, China, Mzwandile Sotsaka and Bradley Betts
- Men’s Four crew is represented by David Hunt, Sandro Torrente, Kyle Schoonbee and Jake Green, bronze medallists at the Regatta Internazionale Memorial Paolo d’Aloja, Italy
- Kirsten McCann, gold medal winner at the 2017 World Rowing Championships and bronze medal winner Ursula Grobler make up the Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls
- Nicole van Wyk, silver medalist at the FISUA World University Championships in Shanghai, China will be competing in the Lightweight Women’s Single Scull.
Of the para-rowing boat classes, the para PR1 men’s single sculls has the most entries with 27 nations taking part. The para PR1 women’s single sculls is also impressive with 14 countries entered. Sandra Khumalo, silver medallist at the Belgrade Regatta in Serbia, will be representing South Africa in the Women’s Single Sculls.
Roger Barrow, coach for the South African national rowing team shared a few words coming out of training camp.
“Our preparations – especially at camp – have gone according to plan, although we were surprised by the unprecedented low water levels in Tzaneen.
“Whilst on camp our training comprises set and timed pieces on the water, as well as cardio work on land. Linz is a well-established rowing course, sometimes prone to windy conditions. We have been preparing for this event for a long time and look forward to getting back into international competition”.
The regatta course of Linz-Ottensheim was constructed on an arm of the Danube in early 1972 before a lock and hydro-electric station was built. The extension to eight lanes was completed in 2006. Since 1972 international rowing regattas as well as the Austrian Rowing Championships have taken place regularly. The venue hosted the World Rowing Junior Championships in 1998, a World Rowing Cup in 2007, the World Rowing Junior and non-Olympic Senior Championships in 2008, the Nations Cup in 1990 and 2001, the 2013 World Rowing Under 23 Championships and the 2018 World
Rowing Cup II.