South African Rowing Team Ready to Go for Gold

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In a vibrant display of national pride and unwavering support, the rowing community gathered in Melrose, Johannesburg, to honour three of South Africa’s national rowing athletes —John Smith, Christopher Baxter, and Paige Badenhorst. These rowing champions are poised to represent our country on the greatest international sporting stage – Paris Olympics later this month.

The event demonstrated the strong support network behind the team, with an atmosphere that was one of excitement and anticipation, as all participants joined in extending their best wishes for the crew’s forthcoming endeavours.

The gathering was marked by heartfelt well-wishes to the dedicated athletes and their coaches including those from distinguished members of the South African Rowing Federation and former rowing champions and sponsors – including headline team sponsor RMB, who expressed their pride and optimism for the team’s forthcoming competition.

Rowing South Africa President, Sean Kerr, proudly conveyed that it is with immense pride that Rowing is able to contribute two exceptional crews to Team South Africa headed for Paris. “Our athletes have trained and competed in tough conditions over the past four years to get to this point. I have no doubt that the team will once again do Rowing and indeed Team South Africa proud!”

The palpable sense of unity and pride left everyone inspired by the athletes’ dedication and commitment to representing South Africa. “As proud sponsor of the RMB National Squad, we are inspired by the level of mental and physical determination and teamwork that goes into qualifying and preparing for the Olympics. We have been partnering our national team since 2016 and they repeatedly bring world-class grit in how they show up. We believe in the power of sport to unite, and we are confident that our team will represent South Africa, with a spirit of determination and resilience. We wish them the very best on their journey to Paris and competing at the Olympic games”, says Alison Badenhorst, RMB Chief Marketing Officer.

The athletes showed immense gratitude and pride in being chosen to represent South Africa. Paige, the women’s single sculler, relayed her experience to be selected to represent her country in Paris is a dream come true. “I am so proud to be South African and I am grateful for the opportunity to wear the green and gold at the greatest sporting event in the world. This is an extremely rewarding moment in my career, and I hope to inspire the next generation of young athletes with my journey”.

This sentiment was upheld by John Smith, who is set to compete in the men’s pair with crew mate Christopher Baxter. John is a well-seasoned and successful athlete, who shared his thoughts on being an unsuspecting threat. “We are a new combination, a young up and comer and an old rower out of retirement. We have raced the world twice. We have not placed yet. The world expects nothing from us, they don’t fear us, and they underestimate us. That makes us an underdog crew. That makes us the dark horse. That gives us all the fuel we need.

Tiago Loureiro, the head coach of the RMB National squad, shares his final thoughts: “It’s an extraordinary privilege to represent our country on the world’s biggest sporting stage. The main objective of the RMB National Squad is to leave no stone unturned to give themselves the greatest opportunity to perform at their very best. Our excitement to go out there and fly South Africa’s flag high keeps the motivation higher.”

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