BY FREEMAN MAKOPA
ZIMBABWE’S top rowing sensations, Rory and Patrick Plunket made an impressive performance at the just ended Junior World Rowing Championships held in Tokyo, Japan at the weekend, finishing sixth in the final of the boys double scull event.
This is the first time that Zimbabwean rowers have ever reached an A final at a World Rowing Championship event.
All six crews in the boys double scull event got off to a good start in the 2 000-metre A final race and competed fiercely against each other down the course. In a thrilling finish, Australia took the gold medal with Germany and Italy taking the silver and bronze medals.
France and Spain took the fourth and fifth spots and Zimbabwe managed to clinch sixth position.
The Plunket brothers had to beat strong competition in a number of preliminary rowing heats from countries such as China, Russia, USA, the Netherlands, Japan, Brazil, Denmark, Greece and Thailand in the rowing event to reach the A final
Meanwhile, Lorryn Bass competed in the girls single scull event which had entries from 21 countries. In this event, Bass won the C final, beating participants from the Czech Republic, Japan, Latvia and Tunisia to claim the 13th position overall with the time of 8 minutes and 6.810 seconds.
The Rowing Association of Zimbabwe (RAZ) president Andrew Lorimer expressed satisfaction over the team’s performance at the highest international showcase.
“RAZ is delighted with these results. With 155 countries in the world being affiliated to Fisa, the international world rowing body, it is a great achievement for Zimbabwe to be ranked 6th in the boys category and 13th in the girls single scull event. These are very commendable results and are testament to the hard work and training put in by our junior athletes and by their coaches. RAZ is very appreciative of the efforts of these athletes and their coaches and also of their parents who have given so much to enable these athletes to compete on the world stage.
RAZ is also very appreciative of sponsorship provided by Ecosure to assist our rowers and coaches to get to Japan,” he added.
The Zimbabweans were competing with 550 of the best junior rowers from 50 countries around the world on the new rowing course which has been specially built in Tokyo for the Olympics which the city is hosting next year.
Lorimer said regular participation by local athletes at international events is part of RAZ’s long term goal of achieving podium performances at the 2024 and 2028 Summer Olympics.