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Junior rowers for world champs

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By Freeman Makopa

AFTER a solid display at the just-concluded Tokyo Olympic Games by Zimbabwe’s top male rower Peter Purcell-Gilpin, the Rowing Association of Zimbabwe (RAZ) has already started laying the foundation for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

Twenty-seven-year-old Purcell-Gilpin was one of the county’s better performers in Tokyo after finishing 20th out of 32 participants in the men’s single sculls competition.

The Zimbabwean rower reached the quarter-finals but failed to make semi-final A/B.

RAZ is already laying the foundation for more rowers to qualify for the Paris Olympics.

RAZ this week announced a three-member team of junior rowers to take part in the U-19 World Rowing Junior Championships to be held in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

The championships are scheduled to run from August 12 to 18 at the Plovdiv Canoe and Rowing Centre.

Zimbabwe will be represented by the trio of Done Erasmus, Stacey Dunstan and Kayla Kalwet, who are all students at  Peterhouse College in Marondera.

Rowing Association of Zimbabwe president Andrew Lorimer told NewsDay Sport that they were excited for being given the greenlight by the  Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) to send a team to the championships.

He said the event would give the country’s up-coming young rowers an opportunity to gain international exposure.

“We are really excited for having been given the chance to send our girls to the world  championships. The situation has been hard for our girls to have full training because of the COVID-19 guidelines, so we are not expecting much in terms of performance from the girls, but this competition will be good for them to gain exposure,” he said.

“There will be 42 countries competing in these championships, so we hope our girls will learn more from these games and that will help them to be fully equipped with skills,” he said.

Nearly 600 rowers from 42 nations will be competing in the six-day regatta.

Racing will be contested in the men’s and women’s single sculls, double sculls, quadruple sculls, pair, four, four with coxswain, and eight.

Zimbabwe’s junior rowers teams have been doing well at regional and the international stage which bodes well for the sport’s future. Three months ago, local junior rowers put up a solid display at the South African National Rowing Championships held at Roodeplaat Dam, outside Pretoria. Dunstan claimed a bronze medal in the Junior Women’s Under-18 single scull event, with Erasmus coming in fourth place.

Kayla Kalweit settled for fifth position.

The team picked another gold medal in the Junior Women’s Under-18 quadruple scull A final event. In the Junior Men’s Under-18 double scull A final event, Emmanuel Nyamupingidza and Reagan Evans won a bronze medal.

RAZ is expecting to maintain the same form although preparations were disturbed by the outbreak of the COVID-19 outbreak which has affected various sporting nations around the globe

Follow Freeman on Twitter @freemanmakopa

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