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Rowing Australia thanks Jaime Fernandez OLY as he takes on next challenge

Rowing Australia (RA) extends its gratitude to one of its greatest servants, Deputy Performance Director Jaime Fernandez OLY, as he prepares to sign off from the sport after more than three decades as an athlete, coach, official and administrator.

Fernandez has been on a remarkable journey with rowing that has seen him emerge from a childhood spent in Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory to blossom into a triple-Olympian, a Silver Medal winner as stroke of the Men’s Eight at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, a winner of the Grand Challenge Cup at Royal Henley Regatta in 2000 and decorated coach and recognised High Performance leader.

Along the way, the man fondly known as ‘Hamma’ tasted success at the Commonwealth Regatta in 1994 and 1999, multiple World Cups and represented Australia at five World Championships. He has numerous Australian Rowing Championship titles in his keeping and was part of the 1997 ACT crew that famously won the King’s Cup – the first and only time an ACT crew has won the event in its 102-year history. In 2021 Fernandez was inducted into the ACT Sport Hall of Fame for his achievements within the sport.

Fernandez joined Rowing Australia in 2011 and has played an integral role as Deputy Performance Director in refining the High Performance and Pathways program, which has become a world-class talent pipeline, producing World and Olympic champion athletes.

He was recently in Europe to lead Australia’s Under 23 and Under 19 athletes through a pair of bountiful World Championships. His knowledge and expertise will now be put to use by Rugby Australia, taking up the role of Women’s Rugby High Performance Manager – a new role for the organisation, leading the implementation of the high-performance aspects of Rugby AU’s Women’s Rugby Plan.

“It’s been an absolute privilege to have been able to work within the sport that I love so dearly and I have never taken the opportunity to do so for granted,” Fernandez said.

“The opportunities rowing and Rowing Australia have afforded me, I will be eternally grateful for. Whilst I am leaving Rowing Australia, I certainly won’t be leaving the sport – I will always remain a steadfast advocate and supporter of it and those within it.

“I’m looking forward to the opportunities that lie ahead and am excited by the vision that Rugby AU have for the women’s program and the role I will play in delivering that.”

Rowing Australia Chief Executive, Sarah Cook OLY, said Fernandez would always be part of the DNA of modern rowing in Australia and his impact would be felt by generations to come.

“It’s hard to articulate the magnitude of the contribution Hamma has made, not just to Rowing Australia in his time here, but to Australian rowing more broadly,” Cook said.

“He will be missed at RA on a daily basis but will remain connected to rowing in a number of ways, including as a member of the World Rowing Youth Commission.

“We wish Hamma the very best for this next step in his career journey, and Rugby Australia is incredibly fortunate to have someone with his expertise and skill leading Women’s Rugby in this country.”