Rowed to success

2016 World Rowing Coach of the Year: Roger Barrow

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Behind every successful sports team there is usually an equally successful coach. The coach behind the SA Rowing team, and Rowing Coach of the Year at the 2016 World Rowing Awards is Roger Barrow.

Barrow has spearheaded the development of elite rowing in South Africa which culminated in the first-ever Olympic gold medal in rowing, not just for South Africa, but the whole of Africa. This gold in the lightweight men’s four at the 2012 London Olympics was achieved using a small pool of athletes.

Barrow has since grown the sport by taking the biggest squad South Africa has ever fielded at an Olympic Games when five boats touched base in Rio last year. All crews made the A-final with the men’s pair winning silver.

"I never kick anyone out, I just don’t select them to the teams. But I encourage them to keep training with a club and if they beat faster people and get in, I’m always happy to be proved wrong," says Barrow on his philosophy of transforming a top club rower into an international rower.

Four members of South Africa’s 2012 National Rowing Squad (James Thompson, Matthew Brittain, John Smith and Sizwe Ndlovu) received the National Order of Ikhamanga on Friday 28 April 2017. The Order of Ikhamanga is a South African honour granted by the President of South Africa for achievements in arts, culture, literature, music, journalism and sport. The foursome won South Africa’s first-ever Olympic gold medal for rowing at the 2012 London games. What makes this achievement even more special is the fact that these four rowers all featured in RMB’s recent TV ads.

“This is an incredible acknowledgement by the South African government of the men’s achievement,” says National Squad Head Coach, Roger Barrow, who was recently named number one rowing coach in the world. “Rowing as a sport has come a long way in SA, helped on by the success of our National Squad on the international stage and, of course, our support teams and sponsors.”

“We have chosen rowing as the sport that best represents our business philosophy of teamwork and collaboration, which are also vital components to be successful in rowing. Thinking. Pulling. Together.,” says RMB CEO, James Formby.

“Being involved in rowing at all levels in South Africa gives RMB the opportunity to help develop a sport that’s both growing in popularity here at home and exposing local talent at an international level,” says RMB’s Carolynne Waterhouse. “The fact that these four rowers have been awarded this great honour speaks volumes about the status of the sport and its potential to make a huge difference in many South Africans’ lives.”

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Rand Merchant Bank (RMB), a division of FirstRand Bank Limited, is a leading African corporate and investment bank and part of one of the largest financial services groups in Africa.

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