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Archived latest news items: January 2008

Wednesday 30 January

Beijing 2008 Olympic Torch Relay

Lizzy Patrick, cox of the Women’s Eight, was yesterday named as one of 80 torchbearers for the Olympic flame when the relay passes through Canberra on April 24 this year. Canberra will be the only destination for the flame in Australia. Former Australian rower and Olympic gold medallist, Megan Marcks, will also form part of the relay. For a full report and list of all torchbearers visit www.olympics.com.au


Wednesday 30 January

FISA fines and bans officials of the Russian Rowing Federation for one year

For more information — click here —


Wednesday 30 January

FISA Fines and Bans Officials of the Russian Rowing Federation for One Year

FISA press release, 29 January 2008

On 26 January 2008, FISA’s Executive Committee convened a hearing to consider the status of the Russian Rowing Federation after seven of their rowers had been banned from the sport for having committed anti-doping rule violations during a twelve month period.

The seven Anti-Doping Code violations included:

  • 23 July 2006 – the date on which Olga Samulenkova was tested and found to have committed an Anti-Doping Rule violation leading to removal of gold medals from the 2006 World Rowing Championships and a two-year ban;
  • 15 July 2007 – the date of the discovery of intravenous infusion materials outside of a hotel in Lucerne, Switzerland which led to six further bans:
    1. August 2007 - The two-year bans of Vladimir Varfolomeev and Denis Moiseev for using a prohibited method and disqualification of Russian Lightweight Men’s double from the 2007 World Rowing Championships;
    2. August 2007 - The two-year ban of Svetlana Fedorova for using a prohibited method and disqualification of the Russian Women’s eight from the 2007 World Rowing Championships;
    3. January 2008 - The two-year bans of Alexander Litvintchev, Evgeny Luzyanin and Ivan Podshivalov for using a prohibited method with a disqualification period starting retroactively on 27 August 2008 and retroactive disqualification of the Russian Men’s eight from the 2007 World Rowing Championships.

Friday’s hearing was held to assess the application of sanctions against the Russian Rowing Federation in accordance with Article 12 of the FISA Anti-Doping Bye-Laws which lists the possible sanctions to a National Federation following an anti-doping offence. The Executive Committee applied the provisions of Article 62 of the FISA Statutes and offered the Russian Rowing Federation the opportunity to produce any evidence and to make any submissions.

In their decision, the Executive Committee focused on the following factors:

  • gravity of the offenses,
  • the lack of cooperation by the federation,
  • their refusal to accept responsibility,
  • their provision of contradictory, inconsistent and deceptive explanations.

Based on the above considerations, the Executive Committee decided:

  1. to apply the sanction defined in paragraph 12.2 of Article 12 of the Anti-doping Rules, namely, to obligate the Russian Rowing Federation to reimburse FISA for all costs (including but not limited to laboratory fees, hearing expenses and travel) related to these seven violations of the Anti-Doping Rules committed by Russian athletes. This amount is approximately CHF 50’000 (currently being calculated);
  2. to apply the sanction defined in paragraph 12.3.1 a of Article 12 of the FISA Anti-Doping Rules, namely, ban all officials of the Russian Rowing Federation from participation in any FISA activities including, but not limited to, the current office bearers and Board of Directors of the Russian Rowing Federation and all coaches, team support staff and medical staff for a period of one year commencing on 27 January 2008.
  3. to apply the sanction defined in paragraph 12.3.1. b of Article 12 of the Anti-Doping Rules, namely, to fine the Russian Rowing Federation in an amount of CHF 75’000.

This means that officials, coaches and medical personnel of the Russian Rowing Federation will, for one year, receive no invitations for visas from FISA event organising committees, receive no accreditations and will not be allowed in the accredited areas at FISA events and will not be allowed to participate at the FISA Congress. FISA is in discussions with the IOC and the Russian NOC to determine the application of this ban at the Olympic Games. This ban does not apply to the rowers who may still compete at FISA events.

For more information - FISA media contact:
Marion Gallimore, Marketing and Communications Manager
Tel: +41 21 617 83 73 or direct +41 21 612 02 26, mobile +41 79 706 72 55
E-mail: marion.gallimore@fisa.org


Wednesday 30 January

Catch-up with Marguerite Houston

Rowing Australia this week had the chance to catch up with 2007 Women’s Lightweight Double Scull World Champion Marguerite Houston, fresh from her three-week camp in Tasmania.

You have just spent the last three weeks training on the Tamar River in Launceston. How was the camp down there?

It was great to be able to go to a location as beautiful as Tasmania to train. We did a lot of work there but it makes it easier if it’s in some spectacular scenery. Everything we needed was within close proximity to where we were staying so it made going from one session to the next a lot quicker.

2007 was obviously a big year for Marguerite Houston after you were crowned World Champion in the Women’s Lightweight Double Scull with Amber Halliday. How was that experience?

It was pretty amazing and at first I actually didn’t think we had won but seeing ‘AUS’ flash up first was a very special moment. We knew the field across the whole course was going to be super close but it was a fantastic race to be in. I think that having four crews on the podium shows how close the top 6 crews are to each other.

You have been pre–selected along with Amber Halliday for the Olympic Games this year in Beijing. How has that changed the way you have been training over the last month?

Definitely, it has more than I thought it would. I think Adrian has done a great job at looking at the bigger picture of what we’re trying to achieve this year and making sure that being at our very best in August is the highest priority. It means that you have to change your focus on where you expect yourself to be at and when.

You were diagnosed with Glandular Fever in 2004 and then took a little while to recover. Has that setback given you extra incentive to be successful?

I think that many athletes get setbacks like this along the way like injury or sickness. I don’t think I’m a special case in any shape or form. I think its how you come to terms with what’s happened to you and how you move on from that, that make you a better person and a better athlete.

Have you decided on which events you will compete in at the 2008 Australian Rowing Championships yet?

No, definitely not yet. Adrian usually sets the program of what we do at regattas and I don’t expect this time will be any different. It depends on where we’re at speed wise and also on the regatta program.

Will you and Amber compete at any of the overseas events before the Olympics?

We will be going to Europe to race in some of the World Cups. I’m really hoping we get to go to Poznan as I have never been to Poland before and I’d like to see what it’s all about.


Wednesday 30 January

Australia Day honours list award

Congratulations to Robert Shirlaw who was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for his service to rowing in the Australia Day honours list. For full details be sure to read Issue 36 of the Rowing Australia newsletter, to be published here on Friday 1 February.


Tuesday 29 January

Congratulations to Duncan Free and Drew Ginn who have been nominated for the International Team of the Year as part of the 2007 Australian Sports Awards. The award will be announced on the 20th of February. For more information visit www.australiansportawards.com


Wednesday 23 January

2008 Adaptive Rowing Paralympic Preparation Program and Monitored Athlete Squads named

— Click here — to see those athletes who have been approved by the Rowing Australia Board for inclusion in RA’s Paralympic Preparation Program (PPP) and Monitored Athlete Squads.


Wednesday 23 January

2008 athletes team agreement for the Olympic Games — notice to athletes

With the second selection regatta just around the corner athletes are reminded to familiarise themselves with the 2008 athletes team agreement for the Olympic Games. Please pay careful attention to the media guidelines as a number of questions were raised in regards to this during the December camp last year.


Wednesday 23 January

Interview with David Crawshay

Rowing Australia this week had the chance to catch up with David Crawshay, as he continues his preparations for the second round of selection trials in February.

1. How was your Christmas and New Year break? What is Christmas like in the Crawshay household?

The Christmas and New Year’s break was fun and relaxing.  On Christmas morning, we had present opening at my brother’s and his wife’s place, getting entertained by their 16 month-old son.  That afternoon, we ventured off to our uncle and auntie’s place for lunch, before getting home for some sleep.

The next morning (at 4:30am to be precise), I hopped in a car with my girlfriend and drove to Sydney for a week of leisure at Manly.  The weather was great, and it allowed me a relaxing time before my current sojourn in Tasmania.

2. Your 2007 international season was relatively successful and you qualified the Men’s Double Scull for the Olympics after your performance with Scott Brennan at the World Championships. Were you happy with your international results?

I viewed our result in Munich with mixed feelings, because I did not believe it was a true reflection of the crew.   We had some memorable tussles in the lead up events and the field was extremely close all the way.  The semi-final loss cut us up pretty badly; the thought of being so close to competing in the winner’s final was almost unbearable, but this will be fire in the belly for this season.

3.  Were you pleased with your performance at the first selection trials in December?

I was pleased with how things went in December.  In the single, it is clear that others have stepped up, but I was satisfied with my form in the double scull.

4.  You are in camp in Tasmania at the moment with the Men’s Sculling group. What are your plans after that ends before the second selection trials in February?

I will most likely move to Hobart for the two weeks leading into the trials.  There I hope to fine tune my technique before the trials in Sydney.  In my time in Hobart last year, I found it to be a great place to train, and this week on camp in Lake Barrington we have been blessed with perfect weather, so I’m looking forward to some good training down there.

5.  Have you decided on which events you will compete in at the Australian Rowing Championships yet?

I hope to make it three-in-a-row for Victoria in the Kings’ Cup.  I also hope to be part of another medal-winning quadruple scull for Mercantile.  I have not decided on other events, but I always enjoy rowing in the fours.

6.   Selection is a long way off still, but which boat would you like to be part of in 2008?

I would love to row in the double.  I feel that the double is the best chance of a medal in Beijing.  Much of my preparation is geared towards trying to gain selection in that boat.

7.   If you are selected for Beijing it would be your second Olympics after finishing seventh in 2004 in the Men’s Quad Scull. What does it mean to you representing your country at the Olympic Games?

It means a great deal to represent Australia at the Olympic Games.  It would mean a whole lot more to win a medal for my country, so I’ll be working extremely hard to make this happen.  Athens was a wonderful experience, but Beijing with a gold would be much better.


Tuesday 22 January

Training camps prove successful as Beijing selection beckons

Rowing Australia conducted a number of camps in the middle of January as the countdown continues to the Beijing Olympics in August.

The second selection trials are to be held from February 13–20 at the Sydney International Regatta Centre in Penrith and following these trials a number of Australian crews will be named.

With the news that the Russian Eight was disqualified from the 2007 World Championships after three members of its crew was found guilty of doping violations, there was an air of relief in the men’s sweep camp last Friday.

After the obvious disappointment of missing out on Olympic qualification last year by one place, the squad was priming itself for the their final chance of qualification this year. The Final Olympic Qualification Regatta to be held in Poland offers one extra Olympic berth in the Men’s Eight boat class.

Head Coach of the Men’s sweep squad, Brian Richardson, said that planning for the year will now change.

“We will now change the program and we will have to re think”, Richardson said. “It’s a great relief. If you are trying to peak for the qualifier, which you have to, then your performance at the Olympics may not be as strong.”

In Tasmania, the Men’s sculling group, who have qualified all three of their boats for Beijing, trained out of the solitude of Lake Barrington as the race for seat places quickens. David Crawshay and Scott Brennan were placed the priority Double Scull boat last year, but a number of athletes are pushing for their positions.

With 12 athletes currently pushing for the 7 seats on offer, Crawshay says that the intensity of the group is noticeable.

“The reality is that 12 into 7 doesn’t really go”, Crawshay said. “I think we’re all pretty mature about it. We have some pretty intense battles on the water, but I think we realise that off the water we can all be friends.”

The women’s sculling group trained in Sydney for a week and then moved down to Canberra, while the Men’s Lightweights were based in Perth.

Australia’s two pre selected Olympic crews have also been placing in a lot of work behind the scenes. Drew Ginn and Duncan Free, have been training together on the Gold Coast over the Christmas and New Year period as they continue their quest for the perfect row. The dual world champions have had their sights set on Beijing for some time and will be the crew to beat come August.

Amber Halliday and Marguerite Houston, who have been selected as the Women’s Lightweight Double Scull crew, will look to back up their world championship success with Olympic gold in Beijing.

Halliday and Houston, under the watchful eye of Coach Adrian David, spent the three weeks after New Year’s Day training on the Tamar River in Launceston. This camp has become an annual fixture but this year has not been as strenuous following the pre – selection of the duo for the Olympics.

“The bonus of the pre–selection is that we don’t have to peak for the domestic season and the selection trials”, Halliday said. “The three weeks we have spent down here has still involved a lot of hard work but it will only get tougher from here on in.”


 
Tim Conrad, Marty Rabjohns and Mark Douez doing all the work in Canberra!
Brian Richardson airs his thought after a session with the men’s sweep squad
Rod Chisholm cleans the boat down after a session on the Swan River in Perth

Monday 21 January

Women’s sweepers continue build up to Beijing


The Women’s Eight drop by Parliament House in the nation’s capital

The women’s sweep squad have some of Australia’s best performed crews over the last three years and following the end of the January national camp the competition is fierce to fill the ten spots available in the Olympic crews.

Following a gold medal at the 2005 World Rowing Championships, the Women’s Eight finished 4th in 2006 and 2007 and will be looking to win their first Olympic medal this year in Beijing.

The Australian Women’s Eight have only competed at the Olympics on three occasions, and although they have always made the A final they have not been able stand on the podium to date.

The signs for the 2008 campaign look promising.

The Eight, along with the Women’s Pair, performed to a high standard in 2007 and although both crews narrowly missed out on a medal at the World Championships, coach Lyall McCarthy always had his eyes set on 2008.

McCarthy said that he was impressed with the level of performance during the camp.

“The standard of the girls is really good”, McCarthy said. “We’ve got a fairly talented group and have had some very competitive workouts during the two week period.”

“At this stage of the year everything is up and going and there is a fair bit of pressure on all of the athletes.”

Sally Kehoe, who was part of the Women’s Eight last year had also enjoyed a strong training block since Christmas and now has her sights set on the selection trials.

“Personally I’m back on track again after the Christmas break and as a squad we are all starting to move in the right direction together”, Kehoe said. “Selections are next month and the depth is so strong within the squad that is no one is guaranteed a seat at this stage so I am just making sure that every session is 100 per cent.”

At the conclusion of the second selection trials, February 13 – 20, the women’s sweep squad will be named. The selection trials are being held at the Sydney International Regatta Centre.


Monday 21 January

Australian Rowing Championships 2008 — Bulletin 2 and Indicative Program are now available

  The Indicative Program (by race, event number and event code) and Bulletin 2 for the 2008 Australian Rowing Championships are available — here —

Monday 21 January

Adaptive Rowing — PPP Squad Selection Policy: now available

The Rowing Australia Selection Policy for the Paralympic Preparation Program (PPP) is available here.


Friday 18 January

RA Media Release:
Australian Men’s Eight on road to Beijing

The Australian men’s sweep squad resumed normal business today after the Men’s Eight gained qualification for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Having finished one place outside qualifying the boat for the Olympics at the 2007 World Rowing Championships, the Australian crew was handed a lifeline overnight when the Russian Men’s Eight was disqualified after three of their athletes were banned for using intravenous infusion, a method prohibited under the World Anti–Doping Code.

The result paves the way for the Men’s Eight to concentrate on their preparation for the Olympics. After last year’s result the crew’s only other chance of gaining qualification was going to come at the Final Olympic Qualification Regatta in Poland, June 15–18, where only a win would book a place in Beijing.

Andrew Dee, Rowing Australia Chief Executive Officer, said that Rowing Australia had been informed of the decision last night.

“We were advised after Munich that there may be some additional investigations held, we didn’t know which athletes were involved or which boat classes”, Dee said. “We were only advised last night of the outcome. It helps us to focus on the end result in Beijing”

The decision also brings James Tomkins one step closer to competing at his sixth Olympic Games for Australia.

Tomkins, who has won three Olympic Gold medals, returned to the team last year after a two year lay off and joined the Men’s Eight crew.

Despite missing out on qualification last year, Tomkins said he was always confident that the crew would make it to Beijing.

“I was very confident we were going to get to Beijing anyway, whether we had to go through qualification or not”, Tomkins said. “Last year was obviously very disappointing but we are past that now.”

Australian men’s head coach, Brian Richardson, said that it was a relief to now be rowing in Beijing.

“In a way it’s a great relief that we now don’t have to go through the qualification championships and we now can focus on the real goal which is the Olympics”, Richardson said. “If you are trying to peak for the qualifier, which you have to, then your performance at the Olympics may not be as strong.”

The second selection trials for the Australian Rowing Team will be held at the Sydney International Regatta Centre in Penrith, February 13–20. The majority of the Australian team to compete at the Olympics is expected to be named upon the conclusion of this event. 

For more information please call David Polglase on 0401 453 041


Thursday 10 January

Vale Tim Willoughby

WA Olympic Council President, Tim Willoughby, passed away yesterday whilst on board a flight from the United States to Singapore.

Willoughby represented Australia for rowing at the Olympics in 1980 and 1984, winning a bronze medal with the Men’s Eight in Los Angeles.

He was also part of the Kookaburra crew that attempted to defend the America’s Cup in 1986.

Willoughby, who was a prominent stock broker, became president of the WA Olympic Council in 1997.

Rowing Australia would like to pass on its condolences to the family of Tim Willoughby.


Monday 7 January

World Anti-Doping Code 2008 Prohibited List — now available

The World Anti-Doping Code 2008 Prohibited List is now available on the WADA website at www.wada-ama.org/rtecontent/document/2008_List_En.pdf

The 2008 list will come into effect on January 1st 2008. Please see the following link for a summary of major modifications from the 2007 list:
www.wada-ama.org/rtecontent/document/Explanatory_Note_2008_En.pdf

Visit the Anti-doping section of this website for information and documentation.

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