Talent identified

Bundaberg Sate High School’s Nathan Obst determines his work rate on the rowing machine while the National Rowing Centre of Excellence’s Andrew Cruickshank monitors his progress.
Bundaberg Sate High School’s Nathan Obst determines his work rate on the rowing machine while the National Rowing Centre of Excellence’s Andrew Cruickshank monitors his progress. Mike Knott BUNROW

NATIONAL Rowing Centre of Excellence (NRCE) Queensland co-ordinator Andrew Cruickshank is pleased with the results of three days of talent identification testing in Bundaberg and District.

The NRCE is a joint venture between Rowing Australia (RA) and the Australian Institute of Sport, incorporating the entire RA High Performance Program and the AIS Residential Scholarship and National Camps Programs.

Its primary objective is to achieve sustainable medal winning performances by Australia at Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Cruickshank, who has been an Australian team coach for a number of years and is the former head coach of the University of Queensland club and a Melbourne University club coach, has conducted eight sessions in Bundaberg over the past three days.

He put students through their paces at Gin Gin and North Bundaberg high schools on Monday, St Luke's Anglican and Shalom College on Tuesday and Kepnock and Bundaberg High yesterday.

Cruickshank also spoke at a coaches' meeting on Monday, and presented a Community Rowing Talent Identification Testing and Information sessions on Tuesday.

He said it was his first year in this role and it was exciting to be to tap into raw talent.

"We are looking for athletes who maybe have never tried rowing before but have played sports like AFL, volleyball, netball, surf life saving and basketball, and we try to give them an Olympic opportunity," Cruickshank said.

"Maybe they have played AFL but can't do so any more because they've had a knee reconstruction.

"There are a number of people in the current Olympic team who have moved from other sports for whatever reasons and have grown to love rowing - it might come back to me having tapped them on the shoulder at the age of 16 and told them they have potential."

Cruickshank said the outcome of his local testing had been "very positive".

"But our criterium is basically 1 in 10,000 - we try to find the exceptional athlete and give them an opportunity which they would not otherwise have had," he said.

"We want the ones who could possibly push up into the Olympic or Paralympic team in four to seven years, and there's at least one here whom I tested who could do that - but they have got to want to do it - rowing is a tough sport."

Topics:  london olympics rowing water sports

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