SA rowers up for international award

Johannesburg – South Africa’s Olympic gold medal-winning rowing team and their coach, Paul Jackson, are among the nominees for the World Rowing Awards to be held in Ireland next month.

The men's quartet were nominated for the Team of the Year accolade, Rowing SA said in a statement on Friday, and Jackson was up for the Coach of the Year award.

South Africa's lightweight four (right to left) Sizwe Ndlovu, John Smith, Mathew Brittain and James Thompson celebrate with their gold medals. Credit: AP

The lightweight fours team of James Thompson, Matthew Brittain, John Smith and Lawrence Ndlovu made history at the London Olympics in August by becoming the first South African rowing crew to win an Olympic gold medal.

They fought back from fourth place with 500 metres to go and powered past Britain, Australia and Denmark to finish first in the final.

Chairman of Rowing South Africa's international commission in charge of selection and training, Paolo Cavalieri, hailed their nomination for the award.

“This is a moment of extraordinary celebration for the sport of rowing in South Africa, for the four members of the team and Paul Jackson who have invested intense and consistent dedication and effort for the past two years in their training as a team prior to achieving Olympic gold,” Cavalieri said.

The other two finalists in the male crew of the year are New Zealand's pairing of Eric Murray and Hamish Bond, who took the title in 2011, and Germany's men's eights squad.

“What is important about this nomination is that the finalists have been selected through a worldwide voting process,” Cavalieri said.

“So it is the global rowing community that has nominated our athletes and coach which shows the worldwide admiration the world feels for these individuals and their achievements.” – Sapa

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