Czech-bound rowers

STRAIGHT off their Africa Youth Games glory; junior rowers Kenneth Raynor and Lorryn Bass will look to dip their feet in water yet again, this time in the Czech Republic. Raynor, a 18-year-old Peterhouse boy, and Bass (17) of Chisipite Girls School starred at the AYG in Algeria last week to qualify for the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires, Argentina in October.

A gold medal in the Junior Men’s single scull over the Olympic distance of 2 000 meters, was all Raynor needed to qualify, while Bass’ silver medal in the Junior Women’s single scull event, also over 2 000m, saw her book a ticket to the global showcase.

But as their Youth Olympics qualification sinks in, the two rowers are expected to shift their focus onto the Junior World Rowing Championships slated for the Czech Republic from August 8-12 in Racice. “Our junior athletes found that the experience of rowing at the AYG was highly exhilarating,” said Rowing Association of Zimbabwe president, Andrew Lorimer. “There was very tight competition racing on the water, and great opportunities to meet and socialize with fellow rowers from 15 other rowing nations across Africa.

“Raynor and Bass relished the opportunity to use the AYG as an opportunity not only to qualify for the Youth Olympic Games but as a warm up for the Junior World Rowing Championships in Racice in the Czech Republic,” he said.

Raynor and Bass will be joined in representing Zimbabwe at the Junior World Championships by the Plunket brothers, Rory and Patrick, who will be competing in the Junior Men’s Double scull event. Lorimer is excited about the strong Zimbabwe team, they are sending to the Junior World Championships.

“The Plunket brothers recently won gold for Zimbabwe, winning the Under 19 Junior Men’s double scull event at the highly prestigious Holland Beker Regatta in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, thus becoming the Dutch national champions for this event.

“It is very exciting that junior rowers from Zimbabwe are getting more and more opportunities to row on the international stage and do well.

“So far they have competed in South Africa, Italy, Germany Netherlands and most recently Algeria.

“A RAZ development squad will soon travel to Canada to compete at the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta,” said Lorimer.

The Rowing Association of Zimbabwe president is chuffed that the sport continues to sail in a positive direction.

He dreams to see a boom in the sport and its popularity. “It is an exciting time for Zimbabwe rowing,” he said.

“Zimbabwe rowers will get better results if we can continue to get more competition and attract more people to take up rowing.

“Rowing in Zimbabwe is currently centred in Harare and Marondera… But RAZ would love to see the sport spreading to Bulawayo, Gweru, Mutare, Kwekwe and even adopted by the universities in Zimbabwe.”

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