Rowing: Champ's future in doubt

By David Leggat

Sullivan not selected for NZ elite rowing squad because 'form not up to it'.

Joseph Sullivan won gold in London and seemed set to be a key figure in the planning for the Rio Games. Photo / Christine Cornege
Joseph Sullivan won gold in London and seemed set to be a key figure in the planning for the Rio Games. Photo / Christine Cornege

An Olympic champion two years ago, now Joseph Sullivan's form isn't good enough to make the New Zealand elite squad for this year.

And after the London Olympic double scull gold medallist was omitted at the same time last year, briefly tried the single scull before withdrawing disillusioned ahead of the world championships, it raises the question of where, or if, his future lies in the sport.

Four scullers, Michael Arms, Robbie and Karl Manson and Giacomo Thomas, will train for the double sculling seats, to be determined on June 1.

Rowing New Zealand's high performance boss Alan Cotter said no thought had been given to enlarging that quartet to five, to offer a lifeline to Sullivan.

"His form is not up to what it was in London and the other athletes are just a little bit ahead of him," Cotter said last night.

"They've all been given an equal opportunity."

Sullivan won gold in London with the now-retired Nathan Cohen and seemed set to be a key figure in the planning for the Rio Games in 2016.

How the goalposts have moved in the space of the last year.

Cotter hopes Sullivan can be brought back into the programme.

"We are open and all the support is here for him. Joe is disappointed so we'll sit down with him when the time is right and work that through with him."

Twenty-four athletes in 10 Olympic class boats have been named to contest the second and third world cups and the world champs in Amsterdam in August.

Fourteen will contest the opening world cup in Sydney which starts on March 28.

- NZ Herald

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