Rowing: Business as usual for crew on cusp on Rio call-up

By David Leggat

New Zealand Rowing Men's Coxless Four, (L-R) Anthony Allen, Patrick McInnes, Axel Dickinson and Drikus Conradie - during the media day at the Lake Karapiro. Photo / Brett Phibbs.
New Zealand Rowing Men's Coxless Four, (L-R) Anthony Allen, Patrick McInnes, Axel Dickinson and Drikus Conradie - during the media day at the Lake Karapiro. Photo / Brett Phibbs.

It remains business as usual for the one New Zealand rowing crew still on the cusp of a late callup to the Rio Olympics.

The men's four of Drikus Conradie, Axel Dickinson, Paddy McInnes and Anthony Allen are in line to replace Russia at the Games, should the International Olympic Committee decide early tomorrow to throw the Russians out of the Games en bloc after revelations of systematic, widespread doping were revealed by the McLaren Report early today.

The New Zealand men's quad of George Bridgewater, John Storey, Jadu Uru and Nathan Flannery won a belated trip to Rio after a Russian sculler failed a doping test last month.

They had finished third at the final qualifying regatta in Lucerne in May. The top two progressed to Rio. New Zealand were next in line and are off to the Games.

The men's four also finished third in their final in Lucerne. Again, the top two progressed.
"Nothing's really changed overnight," Rowing New Zealand chief executive Simon Peterson said today.

"The crew's been training for some weeks. We had a sit down with them (this morning) and gave them all the information we're aware of and in the next 24 hours hopefully we'll have some clarity from our international body on what might eventuate."

Peterson said the crew had come off Lake Karapiro after a training session in 4 degree temperatures and were "pretty numb.

"They are training in the middle of winter, they're cold, but they're training for all the right reasons. They know there's a possibility (of going to Rio) but there's not the excitement yet," he said.

Rowing is in a simpler situation to many other Olympic sports in that the qualification progress is straightforward. A certain number of crews qualify. Should one drop out, the crew which finished one spot out of qualifying that spot gets the trip.

Peterson said RNZ are awaiting word from their governing body Fisa.

"I imagine there's a lot going on for them and we're certainly guided by their next decision."

While he found the detail in the McLaren report "quite stunning", his primary interest is in "our athletes welfare and giving them some clarity".

That said, Peterson found it a "compelling report".

"I see it as a positive day in that these things have been uncovered, some light has been shed and tough decisions are being made. Fisa has long been a supporter of clean sport so while its disappointing in the details in the report, it's certainly encouraging with the level of information coming through."

Five Russian crews have qualified for Rio. Apart from the men's four, they have qualified in the men's lightweight four and eight, and women's eight and lightweight double scull. New Zealand have qualified in the other four.

New Zealand won't be the only country waiting with keen anticipation for the IOC decision on Russia's involvement in the Games.

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf05 at 30 Mar 2017 10:10:04 Processing Time: 793ms