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06 July 2015 | in Universiade 2015, Summer Universiade, Rowing

South Africa’s Rowing 4s living the Dream



GWANGJU - For South Africa’s men’s rowing quartet, this summer’s Universiade is something special – not only are they representing their country for the first time, but are also doing it in the company of fellow Rhodes University peers, having spent hours on the water in preparation for this event.

Tristan Wentworth, a 24-year-old Information Systems graduate who is now completing a Postgraduate Certificate in Education, explains how he and his crew went through a series of arduous tests, trials and regattas, before all being picked at the selection regatta to represent South Africa in Gwangju – a special feat, considering they are all students from the very same university.

“I think that is the best part of all of this - most of the other countries here at the Universiade have a collection of the best rowers around the country that get put together in a boat and race, but we seem to be one of the only crews that all come from the same University which makes the journey so much more special,” Wentworth says. “We are nervous and don’t know where we stand in terms of performance, but the nerves just mean that it means a lot to us, which is a good thing. We'll go out there and do our best and hopefully that’s good enough!”

F.l.t.r.: Tristan Wentworth, Murray Roodt, Bradley Betts, Nicolas Greef

Wentworth, who has been rowing for the last seven years, revealed the tough training regimes he and his mates went through ahead of the Universiade, made even more difficult having examinations to write during the process.

“We have been training a lot for this, especially over the last four weeks or so,” he says. “We took about a week off after our season ended last year and started training again - so around September. Since selection we really ramped up the training: for the past four or five weeks we have been doing three sessions and rowing 20-40km rowing per day whilst writing exams - it was really challenging!”

The South African athlete says he has bene impressed thus far with the Universiade set-up in Gwangju as he looks forward his side’s main event – the coxless 4.

“It is honestly spectacular here,” he beams. “The scale of this event is massive – it’s honestly like the Olympics, if I could imagine what that would be like. The rowing course is also really good and the weather is right up or alley, hot and humid.  It's a fantastic event this, it really is! I am extremely impressed, this far exceeded my expectations!”

Fabio De Dominicis (RSA), U-Media Reporter