Olympic Rowing squad off to Europa for final preparations
Deur Manfred Seidler
Gelaai op 23 Mei 2008
SA Rowing squad leave on Sunday 25 May to Luzerne, Switzerland for the second of three world cup races that they hope will get them into shape they need to repeat and improve on the performance in Athens 4 years ago.
The team of Roman Di Clemente, Shaun Keeling, Kirsten McCann, Alex White and Rika Geyser will be competing in various disciplines from the 29 May to 1 June, before departing for Poznam in Poland for a month long training camp, before competing in their final World Cup race prior to Beijing.
The World Cup in Lucerne starts on the Thursday 29 May, with 32 entries vying for a place in the finals on Sunday 1 June. For Di Clemente this is a new challenge after partner Donovan Cech stopped rowing to recover from injury. Di Clemente, already an Olympic Bronze Medalist, has now teamed up with young Shaun Keeling in the men’s Pairs. 21-year old Keeling will be feeding off the experience of his 33-year old partner. The combination should prove to be a successful one. “Shaun is an awesome talent, the best in the country and pairing him with Ramon should really lift his game,” says Roger Barrow, the Director of the Rowing Academy of the hpc University of Pretoria. “Ramon has a new lease on life with Shaun as he needs a strong partner in the boat with him and Shaun is the perfect foil for him.”
Not only has Di Clemente performed at the Olympics, but also is a multiple World Champion Medalist. Keeling on the other hand has been the South African Champion for the last three years.
Kirsten McCann will be teaming up with Alex White in the Lightweight Women’s Doubles whilst Rika Geyser will be competing in the Single Skulls.
After Luzerne, the team will be depart for Poznam in Poland for a month long training camp before the next World Cup event in Poznam from 19 to 22 June. The time spent in the training camp will allow the team to get to know the course they will be competing on.
They will be meeting up with a team from New Zealand. Whenever possible they meet up with Kiwi’s as they are a team comprising of multiple World and Olympic Champions and are the perfect foil to the South Africans. It also helps that they speak the same language and have a similar outlook on life.