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Roger’s rowers ready

By Mark Etheridge

Team South Africa’s rowing contingent have arrived in New Zealand for the upcoming World Championships.

A compact all-male team of six will do duty at the Lake Karapiro venue in the North Island in the competition that runs from 1-7 November. The contingent will be made up of a men’s pair and a men’s lightweight four.

Manager Roger Barrow will oversee the team with help from assistant coach Paul Jackson and physiotherapist Garetth Bruni.

Speaking from New Zealand about team developments, Barrow said: “The men’s pairs has changed since we were in Europe for the World Cup Series. Shaun Keeling has been replaced by Peter Lambert. Peter was rowing in the men’s single scull before the move into the pairs with Ramon [Di Clemente]”.

“Peter’s just turned 24, being 11 years younger than his partner Ramon. They’ve been together for seven weeks now and are making good improvements each week. It’s hard to say how we’ll fare with such a new combination at world champs as the two have only done one race together at home but expectations are still high.’

The other changes are in the men’s lightweight fours, the one being an injury-enforced swop. “John Smith comes into the crew after his gold medal win at the Under-23 world champions at the end of July and Tony Paladin has come in for Matthew Britain who suffered a disc bulge in his back five weeks ago.”

Originally scheduled to tour, both Hayley Arthur and Lee-Anne Persse picked up injuries and had to stay at home.

The SA team have arrived in New Zealand more than a week before the competition for ample preparation and will be based at Rotorua, about an hour from the competition venue.

Said Barrow on Friday: “Today we decided to start earlier as the wind has been a problem at 8am.┬áWe ate early and everybody had a good sleep.┬áThe water was stunning and in one direction we are able to row up to 10km.┬áThe Rotorua rowing club have a 2000m course marked out with a few buoys, which is helping with training.
“After the session we returned for a second breakfast before heading off to gym.┬áAt the gym they have quite a few Springbok pictures as the Super Rugby Chiefs side plays some of their home games in Rotorua with Stormers player Bryan Habana being a favorite on the wall.”


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