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Wet weather doesn’t dampen competition on Day One

Team Japan take to the waters as do the offspring of some famous faces

It was a wet start to the 2019 Aon Sydney International Rowing Regatta (SIRR) but the rain did not stop the 480 small boats competing in 78 races. Day One of SIRR included heats for single sculls, coxless pairs, and double sculls in the Under 17, 19’s, U21’s, U23’s and Open divisions. Despite the damp weather in the morning, the rain cleared and the day proved to be highly competitive.  

Team Japan competed in events this morning in Penrith; the team is a talent identification (TID) development squad made up of eight male and female athletes aged between 15-17. Four of these athletes will be selected to compete at the Tokyo Junior World Rowing Championships later this year.

“We have been training at the Nepean River, and have had the opportunity to visit the Hancock Prospecting Women’s NTC, and the boat park here is a great environment and an exciting experience for all of us,” said Team Manager Osamu Moriyama.

“We were here last year and found that the Australian rowers are more experienced than our rowers, so this experience has been inspiring for team Japan.

“The athletes that we have brought here are some of our most talented young rowers; we take them out of Japan to race here so they can understand there is a higher level and standard,” added Moriyama, who is also in charge of TID.

The team had some success racing today, with Hinkako Ino finishing second her heat for the Under 19 Women’s single scull. Sennosuke Nakajo and Hiroki Aoki teamed up to race the Under 19 Men’s Double Scull where they finished in first place with a time of 6:52.06, which progressed them straight through to the semi-final.

The next step for the team is training camps in the lead up to the 2019 World Rowing Junior Championships being held in August.

The Under 17 Women’s Single Scull opened the regatta as the first race of the day and with over 1900 athletes racing, it will no doubt be a big week. There were 43 competitors put into six heats for the U17 age division; the winner of each heat going through to the semi-final as the rest move onto a repechage.

Sarah Russel from Tasmania University, coached by Mark Stott, won her heat with the overall fastest time of 8:28.25. Race Three saw Lily Eales represent Loreto Kirribilli, the daughter of former Wallabies captain John Eales, win and progress straight to the semi-finals.

Another well-known surname at this week’s regatta is that of Wright. Jonte Wright, the son of Australian Men’s Team Head Coach Ian Wright, represented Waikato Rowing Club, New Zealand in the Under 19’s Men’s Single Scull. Jonte won his heat in7:23.58, the fastest time in this category. The young New Zealander will be one to watch as the week progresses.

There were plenty of National Training Centre athletes competing today for their clubs including Alexander Hill (Adelaide RC) who raced in the Open Men’s Single Scull where he won his heat and clocked the fastest time in this category, 6:57.36. Sarah Pound (UTS), Georgia Nesbitt (Huon) and Amy James (Toowong), all from the Hancock Prospecting Women’s NTC, joined Alice Arch (MUBC) in action in the first heat of the Lightweight Women’s Single Sculls. Georgia Nesbitt took the win in 7:51.62, closely followed by Sarah Pound in second, in third place Alice Arch and fourth Amy James.

Looking ahead into tomorrow, spectators can look forward to seeing the repechages from today’s racing and the heats for the Open Coxless Pairs alongside some more crew boats from the age divisions. The forecast shows that we should see some sun for day two of the 2019 Aon Sydney International Rowing Regatta, while those who can’t make it to the regatta can watch the livestream here.