Rowing: Tonks on course to coach rowers for Rio

By David Leggat

Rowing New Zealand Coach Dick Tonks. Photo / Wayne Drought
Rowing New Zealand Coach Dick Tonks. Photo / Wayne Drought

Pen has not been put to paper but Rowing New Zealand are quietly confident their plans for more Olympic success in Rio in 2016 will be overseen by Dick Tonks.

The master coach, having been named world governing body Fisa's coach of the year for a third time, is expected to re-sign in the next few days. Tonks oversaw New Zealand's most successful Olympic campaign in London this year with three gold and two bronze medals. So RNZ does not want him heading overseas.

"We've been negotiating with Dick since the London Olympics," RNZ chief executive Simon Peterson said yesterday. "Conversations are going extremely well, the signs are very positive, and we're just looking to finalise the details."

Tonks took time off after the Olympics but was back coaching on Lake Karapiro on November 1. That should also be taken as a positive indicator. Tonks has helped single scullers Rob Waddell and Mahe Drysdale, twins Caroline Meyer and Georgina Earl (twice), and coxless pair Eric Murray and Hamish Bond to Olympic gold going back to 2000.

His direct and uncomplicated instructions have struck a chord with a succession of Kiwi rowers. The benefits have been substantial.

Next month government funding agency Sport New Zealand will allocate monies for the next four-year Olympic cycle. Rowing received $19.2 million over the four-year period to this year's Olympics, on the back of one gold and two bronze medals at Beijing in 2008. What price the significantly enhanced London success? Being able to confirm Tonks' role will only strengthen rowing's hand.

- NZ Herald

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