Peter is a sports writer at the Bay of Plenty Times

Rowing: Bold bids to row way to Rio

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Tauranga rowers Adam Ling, pictured, and Toby Cunliffe-Steel will compete for an Olympic spot in Lucerne later this month.
Tauranga rowers Adam Ling, pictured, and Toby Cunliffe-Steel will compete for an Olympic spot in Lucerne later this month.

Rowing New Zealand team manager and Tauranga resident Jan Taylor talked to the Bay of Plenty Times about the Tauranga rowers attempting to gain selection for the Rio Olympics at the Olympic qualification regatta in Lucerne from May 22-24.

How many Olympic team spots are available at this qualifying regatta in Lucerne?

NZ still have five boats to qualify - women's single, lightweight men's double, women's quad, men's quad and men's four. We believe they are capable of qualifying.

Looking at the lightweight men's double scull pair of Toby Cunliffe-Steel and Adam Ling, what are their chances of making it through to Rio?

Lightweight events are always very competitive. The athletes are of similar in size and weight which makes for tight, exciting racing with pretty much always a blanket finish. We wouldn't be sending them if we didn't think they could qualify.

Adam Ling became a world champion last year but in a boat not going to the Olympics. Now he is trying to qualify. How did this come about?

In 2015, seven athletes were trialling for six seats in the lightweight men's four or lightweight men's double Olympic boats. Adam missed out on a seat in those and was selected for the non-Olympic event the lightweight men's single, which acts as a reserve for those two boats. He went on to become 2015 world champion from the outside lane. Curtis Rapley was selected as a reserve for Lucerne but has decided to take a year off.

Zoe Stevenson is already assured of a Rio berth. What are her major strengths and how do you rate her medal chances?

Zoe is a talented athlete. She has a very fast finish which is always exciting to watch. As current world champions, Zoe and her partner Eve Macfarlane are a strong medal prospect in Rio. They are competing in Lucerne at the World Rowing Cup regatta that follows the Olympic qualifying regatta.

Nathan Oakley (Victoria) and Jack Gilpin (Victoria) were selected in the men's eight in the 2016 New Zealand University transtasman team to compete against Australia. What about the other Tauranga rowers who recently made New Zealand teams?

Nathan and Jack have taken their first steps towards an international career.

Jordan Parry was recently selected for the second year running to compete at the under-23 world rowing championships in Rotterdam in August.

He is a man with a huge future.

Joining him for his first European campaign is another Tauranga Club member Charlie Rogerson in the under-23 coxed men's four.

Courtney Rennie was also recently selected for the second year running in the under-21 lightweight women's double for another transtasman battle.

They all came through the Tauranga Boys' College and Tauranga Girls' College with Courtney originally from Bethlehem College.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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