Next stop Tokyo Olympics for the RMB National Squad

Emotions were high this past weekend as the top rowers from around the world gathered in Lucerne for the final Olympic qualifying regatta.

While the RMB National Squad had already qualified one boat for the Tokyo Olympics, Roger Barrow, head coach of the RMB National Squad, believed we had the skill and depth of athletes to qualify two more boats.

The squad spent three weeks in Lesotho at a high altitude training camp preparing for the final Olympic qualifiers where Roger Barrow selected the teams:

  • Men’s Four – Lawrence Brittain, Kyle Schoonbee, John Smith, Sandro Torrente
  • Lightweight Women’s Double ScullI – Kirsten McCann , Nicole van Wyk
  • Jake Green and Luc Daffarn have paired up for the Men’s Heavyweight Pair boat that has already qualified for Tokyo Olympics and would travel as reserves.

The qualifying regatta
The weather opened up for the weekend but forced the organisers to squeeze a three-day regatta into two days, meaning the teams would race the semi-finals and finals on the same day, just two hours apart. This made a tough regatta that much harder.

Kirsten MacDonald (McCann) and Nicole van Wyk had a tough regatta, sadly missing the qualification, while the Men’s Four won their heat, semi-finals and finals. They looked calm and delivered an impressive performance, securing a gold medal and a ticket to Tokyo 2021 Olympics.

Congratulations to Lawrence Brittain , Kyle Schoonbee, John Smith and Sandro Torrente on your performance.

Sean Kerr, president of Rowing South Africa, said: “We couldn’t be more proud of the team that represented us in Lucerne. The four-year build up is brutal and the athletes sacrifice a large part of their lives to become Olympians. To have a Men’s Four this quick and to win the qualifier on Sunday only bodes well for another great representation from South Africa at the games in rowing. Now for the buildup to Tokyo.”

It’s time for us to get behind Team South Africa and the RMB National Squad, with less than 100 days until the start of the Tokyo Olympics.

Meet the team and see what makes South Africa good at rowing with the award winning documentary A Story of Courage. Thanks to Rand Merchant Bank for backing South African rowing and making it possible for these athletes to represent South Africa internationally.

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