Rowing: Emma Twigg takes break and heads to Europe for two years

By David Leggat

Emma Twigg is taking two years out of the sport. Photo / Photosport
Emma Twigg is taking two years out of the sport. Photo / Photosport

High profile names are missing from Rowing New Zealand's summer training squad announced yesterday.

The biggest of them, single sculler Emma Twigg, is taking two years out of the sport to base herself in Europe, according to Rowing NZ.

The world 2014 world champion, who signalled she may be finished with the sport while at the Rio Games, spent the 2015 season season studying in Europe.

Lightweight double scullers, and two-time world champions, Julia Edward and Sophie Mackenzie, are taking the next year off from the sport, while veteran lightweight Peter Taylor, a world champion and 2012 Olympic bronze medallist with Storm Uru, is also retiring, along with Uru's brother Jade, who was in the quad which won a late callup to Rio.

A handful of others, such as Sarah Gray from the women's quad, and coxless four men Axel Dickinson, Patrick McInnes and Anthony Allen have dropped back into their Regional Performance Centres.

Rowing NZ high performance boss Alan Cotter said those taking a break would need to prove themselves before getting back into the elite programme after they return from time out.

Those rowers who have attended two Olympics don't need to return to training until November 28. The rest return on October 28.

Rowing NZ are also preparing for a likely change to the gender balance at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

The International Olympic Committee, as part of its Agenda 2020, are pushing for gender balance in rowing in Tokyo. World rowing body Fisa has been consulting with national federations for 18 months.

There are eight men's and six women's disciplines. A congress in February is expected to make a recommendation to the IOC on which men's event to drop.

The men's lightweight four is rated vulnerable while the women's four is seen as among the favourites to gain a place in the programme.

- NZ Herald

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