ZIMBABWE junior rowing team coach Kristine Johnson has expressed confidence in the four-member squad selected to compete at the World Junior Rowing Championships in Trakai, Lithuania next month.
BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
The four include Ciara Soper (Chisipite Senior School) and Stuart Duncan (St George’s College) competing in the girls-boys’ single sculls respectively as well as the double sculls pair of Kenneth Raynor and Keegan Smith both from Peterhouse Boys School.
“The team we have selected is strong and is composed of the best we have. I have no doubt they will make the country proud, the association and themselves proud with outstanding performances,” Johnson said in an interview with Sports World.
The team was chosen from a provisional junior 14-man squad which has been having weekly training camps at Mazowe Dam since April.
Johnson explained the criteria used to come up with the final squad.
“They were expected to do 93% of Gold Medal Time consistently throughout the last few weeks of training. In other words, they need to be within a certain amount of time that we anticipate the winning time at the regatta to be and these guys achieved it,” she said.
“I have been working with the team since April. It has been a hard few months for them, with the final month of preparation coming up. It will only get tougher for them. They are on track to produce good performances and will be ready for the championships when the time comes,” Johnson added.
The Lithuania championships are pencilled in for August 2- 6.
Duncan has showed, in recent months, that he is capable of competing at the world stage after he won medals at the South African Schools Championships and at the Italian Memorial Paolo D’aloja International Regatta in March and April.
Soper, Raynor and Smith also scooped medals at the South African Championships in April 2017.
Last year Soper came 15th in the world at the Junior World Rowing Championships in the Netherlands and look set to improve on that performance.
Rowing Association of Zimbabwe also announced a junior development rowing squad to compete at the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta between 6th and 12th August 2017.
The Royal Canadian Henley Regatta is one of the premier rowing events in North America.
The squad includes David Maonga and Darragh Van Aswegan from St Georges College, Aqua Evans and Brendon Eggersglusz (Peterhouse) as well as Ashleigh Craig, Rebecca Compton and Lorryn Bass from Chisipite.
“The intention for this squad is for them to gain international rowing experience in preparation for the opportunity to compete at the African Rowing Championships and at the Youth Olympics in 2018,” RAZ chairman Andrew Lorimer said.