Rowing: Tonks named coach of the year

New Zealand rowing coach Richard Tonks captured the sport's greatest coaching accolade for the third time at the world rowing awards in Limerick, Ireland overnight.

Tonks was named coach of the year at a ceremony at Knappogue Castle, after the New Zealand rowing team's record medal haul at this year's London Olympics.

Having already won the award in 2005 and 2010, Tonks oversaw an Olympic programme which resulted in golds for Mahe Drysdale, the men's pair of Eric Murray and Hamish Bond, and double scullers Nathan Cohen and Joseph Sullivan.

The world rowing awards selection process began with the submission of nearly 1000 nominations, before the FISA council voted for the finalists. These were then submitted to FISA's executive committee who selected the final winners.

"When New Zealand picked up an unprecedented five medals at the London 2012 Olympic Games it was clear that their head coach Dick Tonks was behind this success," World Rowing said in a press statement.

"Tonks has been the brains and sweat behind the amazing success of New Zealand rowing."

Tonks was also the architect behind the two gold medals of the Evers-Swindell twins and Rob Waddell. An Olympic medallist from the 1972 Munich Games, Tonks began as a volunteer coach in his home town of Wanganui where he worked night shift at a factory so that he could coach during the day.

From those humble beginnings, he eventually came to run one of the most successful programmes in New Zealand's Olympic history.

- APNZ

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