SA Men’s Coxless Four look for Olympic glory

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2020 Summer Olympic Games

23 July – 8 August 2021

Tokyo, Japan

The South African Men’s Coxless Four team of Lawrence Brittain, John Smith, Kyle Schoonbee and Sandro Torrente will look for an upset triumph in their Rowing event at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The Rowing will be held from July 23 to 30 at the Sea Forest Waterway in Tokyo Bay, with 14 medal events contested by 526 athletes across Men’s and Women’s categories. The Men’s Coxless Four will have heats on July 24, repechage on July 26 and the Final on July 28.

"We are definitely going into the Games as the underdogs. Britain and Australia must be the pre-race favourites. In the build-up to the Tokyo Games, the Aussies only lost once in five years while the British crew basically podiumed each time they raced,” said Smith, who added that the hard work put in by the South African team will count for plenty out on the water.

"The aim in Tokyo is again the top spot. That is the mindset of a South African rower. We never settle for mediocrity. If you think about finishing second, rowing is not the sport for you. For us it will always be about being the best you can be. We all want it so badly. That is why we have been putting ourselves through 'hell' every day."

Another key event is the Men’s Coxed Eight, which will hold its Final on July 30. The American set-up features Alex Miklasevich, who is backing the inexperienced team to punch above their weight at Tokyo 2020.

“Whatever boat you're competing in the Olympics, you have expectations. I think, we really haven't raced anyone outside of our team since 2019 (due to the coronavirus pandemic), so it's hard to say but I know the team is stronger than it had been the year before. We're going in there to try and do our best. That's all we can focus on. It's too hard to focus on other teams. We're in a great place. I think we'll do very well there,” said Miklasevich.

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On the Women’s side, keep an eye out for the Coxless Pair of Helen Glover and Polly Swan representing Great Britain. Glover is a two-time Olympic champion, triple World champion, quintuple World Cup champion and quadruple European champion. She retired after the last Games in 2016 but the mother of three made a shock return to competition in 2020.

"This is the thing I was aiming for when I first came back,” said the 35-year-old. "I genuinely thought it was an impossible mission this time last year but I always had this day in my sights and I feel really proud that it’s here and that I’ve made the Olympic team."

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Published: 07/23/2021