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M4 crew’s Swiss success means SA have five boats qualified for Rio
- Updated: May 25, 2016
The South African men’s fours rowing crew have qualified for the Olympic Games in Rio by winning their M4 final at the FISA European and Final Olympic Qualification Regatta in Lucerne, Switzerland on Tuesday afternoon.
Their victory means that South Africa has qualified a record five boats for the Games. The other crews to have qualified are the men’s and women’s lightweight double sculls as well as the men’s and women’s pairs.
‘It was so hard, but we worked so much that we didn’t feel the pain. Next time we will qualify at the World Championships because it is really too stressful to race here in Lucerne,’ an elated David Hunt (Tuks/HPC) said.
Hunt and his Tuks/HPC teammates, Jonty Smith, Vince Breet and Jake Green, totally dominated the final by pretty much taking the lead from the start to win in 5min 55.22sec. Their winning time is nearly four seconds faster than the time in which they won their heat on Sunday.
The crew of France were second in 5:57.10 and New Zealand third in 5:59.14 in the fours final.
What makes the South African crew’s performance remarkable is the fact that last month in the World Cup event in Varese, Italy they finished last, nearly 12 seconds, behind the winning USA crew.
Hunt was a part of two crews (the M2- in 2015, and M4-) that managed to qualify for the Olympics.
Roger Barrow (head coach at Tuks/HPC) never doubted that the fours would qualify for the Games and after the Italy World Cup he was on record saying: ‘I’ll admit that some costly mistakes were made. However, in the repechage, when it mattered the fours was able to put a 5:50 race together proving that they have the speed to compete against the best. It should be remembered that it is still a new crew in the process of establishing a working dynamics in the boat.’
The fact that the fours did qualify just proves again that Barrow and his team have the ability to make the right move at the right time. Barrow’s uncanny ability to pair the right combinations in a boat, has earned him the nickname of ‘the chess master of international rowing’.
Another reason for the South African rower’s success is the fact that Barrow is not only a hard taskmaster but an absolute perfectionist as well. According to him the hard work only really starts now after having qualified the five crews.
‘My goal has never been to get a big participation at the Games. My goal as coach is to make sure the boats we have qualified are very fast by the time the Games start so that they will all have realistic chances to medal.’