The Sea Forest Waterway, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games rowing regatta venue, not only played host to the top junior rowers for the 2019 World Rowing Junior Championships, between 7 to 11 August, the venue also doubled as a test event for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.
Fifty nations took part, and that included the South African Junior Team that sent four boat classes to participate; a men’s pair and coxed four together with a women’s double and coxed four.
It was a proudly South African moment when the Junior Men’s Coxed Four took podium position on Sunday, 11th August and won silver medals, with Germany securing gold and China bronze.
We asked Trevor Dedlow – Junior IC Chair for some comments on the squad; athletes and coaches alike.
“We are obviously extremely proud of the Junior Men’s coxed four and their silver medal but need to state that all crews performed to the best of their abilities and we are proud of the whole squad, athletes and coaches alike.
The four was identified quite early on during the school’s season as a potential target boat for this year’s campaign and I am thrilled that the boys’ hard work has paid off. We have to mention the coach, Thato, who has done an exceptional job in preparing the crew.
The four comprised of athletes from two different schools, namely St Benedicts and Jeppe, and I believe that this endorses the quality of our rowing and our coaching at schools’ level. It also endorses our entire structure, from our management, coaches and sponsors right the way down to the athletes themselves.
Roger Barrow, our head coach RMB National Squad, has developed a system that produces success and our Junior Head Coach, Andrew Grant, has brought that experience into the junior squad with the intention of building a nursery and providing synergy between our senior and junior programs.
Andrew has done a phenomenal job this year in developing the result and mentoring our crew coaches. Athletes who want to achieve need look no farther than our very competent structure.
Our challenge, of course, will be to keep them all here and to keep them all rowing”.
“This is the second year of gender equality in all World Rowing’s World Championship regattas, the split between boys and girls this year was exactly 50/50. We are deeply committed to support our national goals both from a social and a sporting perspective and we were very happy with the split this year.
The Women’s Coxed Four this year contained three athletes who will be eligible to return in 2020 and I am personally delighted to see the focus on development and hope to see this produce an even larger female contingent in the squad in future years”.
Known as the Sea Forest Waterway regatta course, it is situated in Tokyo Bay between two reclaimed islands. It’s been specifically constructed in a former shipping channel to cater for an eight lane, buoyed course with wave protection along all sides. We asked Trevor what feedback he’s received from the Juniors’ who’ve had an opportunity to test the regatta course.
“The comments received so far have been quite complimentary of the course and the facilities. Tokyo seem to be well equipped to cope with the Olympics next year. The course itself was quite windy with the wind changing direction quite often.
On finals day it was a head wind for most of the day resulting in slightly slower times than usual. This doesn’t change the quality of the rowing in any way but does slow the boats down and provide a slightly greater challenge for the athletes.
We will meet with the squad on their return and look forward to any pertinent information they can give us prior to the Olympics next year’.
Take a walk through the Tokyo Sea Forest Waterway Venue