Home' The Wellingtonian : February 23rd 2012 Contents 23
THE WELLINGTONIAN, FEBRUARY 23, 2012
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Promising start for
Drysdale at Karapiro
It was heartening to see Mahe
Drysdale look so strong in
regaining his national single
sculls rowing crown at Lake Kara-
piro over the weekend.
Drysdale, not in the best of
health, lost the single sculls title
last year to fellow Olympian
Nathan Cohen, which set the
stage for a great 2012 final.
With Peter Taylor and Eric
Murray also in the mix, the race
was one of the best in New Zea-
land single sculls history.
As Drysdale pointed out later,
there were three world champions
and a world championship silver
medallist in the field, so the qual-
ity was unarguable.
(In passing, watching the four
great rowers compete so hard to
win a New Zealand title
reinforced what a farce it is call-
ing Sonny Bill Williams a New
Zealand boxing titleholder after
his joke bout against American
Clarence Tillman this month.)
After rowing promisingly at
Auckland University, Drysdale
abandoned the sport for a time,
only to be inspired to take it up
again by single sculler Rob
Waddell s heroics at the 2000 Syd-
Drysdale was part of an odd-
looking New Zealand coxless four
at the 2004 Athens Olympics.
He is 1.98m (6ft 6in) and was so
much taller than his team-mates
that the boat looked unevenly
balanced in Athens, though the
New Zealanders did finish fifth in
Drysdale always appealed as a
more likely single sculler, and so
it has proved.
He has ruled world single scul-
ling since he won his first world
title, in Japan in 2005.
He won that one in incredible
circumstances, having broken two
vertebrae in a crash with a water
skier earlier in the year.
Drysdale has won five world
titles and in 2010, again battling
an injury, took the silver when the
world champs were held at Lake
Karapiro. His only letdown was at
the 2008 Beijing Olympics, when
he was third.
It was a most unfortunate week
for the popular Drysdale. He was
named the New Zealand s Olym-
understandably marched proudly
in the opening ceremony, carrying
the flag at the head of the team.
This was a strength-sapping,
steamy evening and Drysdale and
his team-mates stood around for
hours waiting to march into the
stadium. They wouldn t have got
to sleep till 2am, by which time
they d have been exhausted.
Drysdale had to be up very
early because the first round
of single sculls heats began
later that morning.
Unfortunately he picked
up a stomach bug, possibly
during the draining opening
ceremony evening, and
struggled for the next week
to shake it off.
Though well below his
best, he fought his way into
the Olympic final.
courageously but could man-
age only third in the final,
finishing totally shattered.
He got to the line on guts
As he slumped in his boat,
he vomited and collapsed
before being carried into a
So Drysdale has unfin-
ished business at the London
Olympics later this year.
He s 33, so this is his last
shot at Olympic glory.
It would be only fair for
him to round off a brilliant
career adding an Olympic
gold to his already impress-
Winning such a competi-
tive New Zealand champion-
ship final was a good start.
Council OKs funding
for artificial field
Wellington is to get another arti-
ficial sports field -- but will be
sharing it with St Patrick s Col-
Wellington City Council s strat-
egy and planning committee
unanimously agreed to recom-
mend funding of $800,000 for con-
struction and $40,000 annually
for maintenance of an artificial
field at the college.
St Pat s is to contribute
The Kilbirnie pitch will be the
sixth artificial field to be funded
by Wellington City Council in the
past few years, following pitches
that have been laid at Nairnville
Park, Wakefield Park (two), Te
Whaea and Wellington College.
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