TWO-TIME Olympic rower Micheen Thornycroft has been tasked to coach a young rowing team, made up of three school girls picked to represent the country at the 2017 African Rowing Championships in Tunis from October 11 to 23.
BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
The Rowing Association of Zimbabwe (RAZ) announced it had to settle for the three 15-year-olds since most of the top juniors would be writing final exams by the time of the event next month.
Holly Bicknell from Peterhouse will compete in the junior women single sculls competition while Chisipite’s Tarryn Hinde and Erin Soper will pair up in the junior women double sculls category.
The trio will initially take part in a high profile training camp set at the Lake International Development Rowing Centre from October 12 to 19 before the competition slated for October 20 to 21 at the same venue.
“With a lot of our top junior athletes unavailable due to exams next month, these are the best we had in their categories and as RAZ, we feel that they are strong medal prospects for us at the African Championships,” Raz chairman Andrew Lorimar told The Sports Hub.
“The International Rowing Federation is sponsoring our athletes to the event and we are very grateful. The camp and the competition give us an opportunity to prepare and build for bigger events coming next year such as the World Championships and the Youth Olympics.
“The most important thing for us is to make sure that we get our athletes to compete at such an event. We were really keen to get Zimbabwe represented at the African Championships this year,” Lorimar added.
In a bid to increase the number of rowing coaches in the country, RAZ has roped in Zimbabwe Olympian Thornycroft to guide the team in Tunisia on her first official international assignment.
Thornycroft retired from competitive rowing after competing at the 2016 Rio Olympics in Brazil.
“Micheen has been at the Olympics twice and is on a transition from athlete to coach and we have taken it upon ourselves to help her develop her coaching skills. What we need as RAZ are as many top coaches as we can get in order to achieve our targets,” he said.
Bicknell is a genuine medal prospect after she won gold in South Africa against top opposition at the beginning of the year.