Ramon calls it a day | SASCOC - SASCOC

Ramon calls it a day

Our three-time Olympian rower Ramon di Clemente has finally hung up his oars to concentrate on, amongst other things, his recent marriage and business interests.

Di Clemente rowed for South Africa at the 2000, 2004 and 2008 Olympics in Sydney, Athens and Beijing, winning one medal ÔÇô silver in Athens. He also medalled four times at World Championship level, two of them being silver in 2002 and 2005.

Along with former team-mate Donovan Cech he is one of the most successful rowers to wear the green and gold.

Explaining his decision to Road to London 2012 at the weekend, Di Clemente said: “I basically came to the end of my road after representing SA every year since 1993.

“The last three years I have rowed with a younger group and they have taken up the reins and are spearheading South Africa’s challenge at the London Games.

“I have no regrets as deep inside I know I have exhausted all over the last 20 years.”

Di Clemente also chatted to World Rowing website and reflected on his long career.

World Rowing: What made you decide it was time to retire?
Ramon di Clemente: I got to the point where I’d exhausted the options in my career. It was time for the younger guys to take over.

WR: Was it a quick decision or a long process?
RdC: It was a long process. The big push was Beijing [2008 Olympic Games]. I rowed with Shaun [Keeling] who was much younger than me. It was a big effort. Then I was thinking about it in 2010 after the New Zealand World Champs.

WR: Will you stay involved in rowing?
RdC: Yes, I just need to find my feet first, but I’ve got some ideas and I want to pass on my experience. I want to expose people to rowing. I want to keep the youngsters dreaming about what they can do.

WR: Are you staying involved in sport, keeping fit?
RdC: Right now, I’m just training for life. I’m not involved in any competitive sport, so I’m just training to keep myself fit and healthy. It’ll include rowing at some stage, probably the single.

WR: What are you enjoying most about your post-rowing life?
RdC: Just recently I got married (in November), which is a whole new chapter. Also I haven’t lost the passion to achieve. I always want to be striving.

WR: What has been hard to adjust to?
RdC: I’ve been reminiscing about the last 10 years and I realise how fortunate I was.

WR: You have spent most of your career in the pair. Is this by circumstance or choice?
RdC: Initially I only competed in the eight (as a junior and under-23), but the rest of my career has all been in the pair. I really love the pair, since I was 16. It could’ve initially been about circumstance, but it’s really good in the pair. The options to start rowing in other boats (in South Africa) will start happening as more people take up rowing.

WR: Do you have a favourite memory from your rowing days?
RdC:┬á I think my best is all the people that supported me through the years especially my long-term sponsor, Paolo Cavalieri. He basically made sure that I could get the best out of my career. He’s supported me since 2000. My achievements are a good memory, but it’s hard to pick out one as they all merge into one. I think my whole rowing career becomes one chapter and I will look back quite fondly on it. That chapter is now done.

WR: Do you have a favourite race?
RdC: The 2002 World Championships in Seville. That for me was one of my best.

WR: What are your plans from here?
RdC: I’ve a hotel (with rowing as part of it) in partnership with some others:┬á┬á http://theblades.co.za We’ve developed it over the last 5-6 years. We’re all rowers from my rowing club. I’ve also been doing projects in Johannesburg.