New Zealand’s star rower, Mahe Drysdale,
preparing his boat before a training
session on Lake Karapiro, New Zealand.
In a nation crazy about
cricket and rugby, rowing
very much plays second fiddle in the public
sporting arena. But the recent and
consistent success of the national rowing
team has made the New Zealand population
take notice. Mahe Drysdale, amongst other
rowers, is now a household name, and the
annual sports awards are regularly
dominated by rowers. New Zealand will play
host to the 2010 World Rowing
Championships in November, and this again
is lifting the rowing status nationally.
NEW ZEALAND NZL
Rowing has been strong at the high school level for
many years and the high school championship, the
Maadi Cup, is the country’s biggest regatta, attracting
thousands of competitors. Recent national team
success has meant that ex-high school rowers are
more likely to continue once they leave school. This
has enlarged and strengthened the elite squad and
top athletes readily admit that competition amongst
the squad is intense.
For much of the year, the entire national squad is based
in one location at Lake Karapiro (venue for the 2010
World Rowing Championships). They enjoy a brand
new high performance centre and work with some of
the top coaches in the world. This means that junior and
under- 23 rowers get to work alongside and learn from
their senior counterparts.
Government funding for the sport has increased in
recent years due to the recognition of the potential to win
Olympic medals by rowers. This has made the sport more
attractive against other sports. Rowing New Zealand
prides itself in its structure which includes top level
physiological testing and cutting edge training methods.
■ M. S.B.