BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
ZIMBABWEAN rowers will be seeking to maintain the country’s record of having qualified for the last three successive editions of the Olympic Games when they gun for places at next year’s Tokyo Games in the African Olympic Continental Qualification Regatta in Tunisia next month.
The Rowing Association of Zimbabwe (RAZ) has selected the duo of Peter Purcell-Gilpin and Lieben Dickens to represent the country at the African qualifiers which will coincide with an
International Rowing Federation (FISA)-organised training camp from October 4 to 13.
“Following on recommendations made by the RAZ Technical Committee, RAZ has great pleasure in announcing that (Lieben) Dickens, (Peter) Purcell-Gilpin and coach Felix Dieu have been
selected to represent Zimbabwe at the African Olympic Qualifying Regatta and FISA Training Camp to be held in Tunisia,” Raz chairman Andrew Lorimer said.
“RAZ has tasked this team with the goal of qualifying Zimbabwe at the Regatta in Tunisia for the women’s and men’s Olympic Single Scull Events at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics,” he added.
While the duo will aim to qualify boats in the men and women’s single sculls at the event, athletes to represent Zimbabwe at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will only be selected for qualified
boats in 2020.
“Should these athletes be successful in achieving one or the other or both of these tasks, then a three-race RAZ Selection Regatta will be held on an official rowing course, most likely
in early 2020, to give all eligible Zimbabwean single scullers an opportunity to be the Zimbabwean athlete selected to race in a qualified single scull event at Tokyo 2020.
“The three-race Raz Selection Regatta will most likely be held at Eton Dawny in the United Kingdom, as this is the official rowing course that will be most convenient to the greatest
number of Zimbabwean athletes able to take part in this selection event. The date for this event will be announced by RAZ as soon as possible,” revealed Lorimer.
“RAZ would like to wish Lieben, Peter and Felix the best success on the water in Tunisia. We trust that they will be great ambassadors for Zimbabwe and that they will fly our Zimbabwean
flag high and make us proud,” he said.
RAZ will be looking to have representation at next year’s global games in Japan, which would be the fourth successive Olympics that the country would be represented.
Retired female rower Micheen Thornycroft featured for the country at London 2012 and Rio 2016 where she was accompanied by James Frazer Mckenzie and Andrew Pebbles respectively, while
Elena Hill was the country’s sole rower at the 2008 Beijing Games.