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Olympian Steve Redgrave launches his rowing academy

Taking up a sport in school simply because it allows you a chance to escape a humdrum lesson is something that a lot of people all over the world prefer. However,becoming something of a colossus in that sport,earning multiple Olympic gold medals and then receiving a knighthood for your efforts is a rather rare occurrence. […]

Written by Chinmay Brahme | Pune |
November 13, 2013 2:48:45 am

Taking up a sport in school simply because it allows you a chance to escape a humdrum lesson is something that a lot of people all over the world prefer. However,becoming something of a colossus in that sport,earning multiple Olympic gold medals and then receiving a knighthood for your efforts is a rather rare occurrence. However,that is exactly what happened to Sir Steve Redgrave,according to him.

”I went to a small state school in Marlowe,England. Our school basically had only three sports — football,rugby and rowing. I chose rowing because it allowed me to go down to the river for an hour every week. Back then I never really thought that rowing as a sport would become such an integral part of my life,” he said.

Taking up the sport on a whim,Redgrave went on to earn six Olympic medals,becoming the only endurance athlete to win five gold medals in five consecutive editions of the Summer Olympics. Adding further weight to his already burgeoning trophy cabinet were the nine World Championship gold medals that he won during a glittering career that came to an end with the last of his Olympic gold medals at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Redgrave was here to launch the Steve Redgrave Rowing Academy on Tuesday and hold a coaching clinic for rowers of the Indian Army. Redgrave’s academy will be located at Lavasa and open to almost 50,000 students expected to study in the township.

The rower,often considered the UK’s greatest ever Olympian,encouraged the progress made by Indian rowers,notably Swaran Singh Virk,who came away with a creditable showing at the London Olympics. However,the 51-year-old said India was a long way off their goal of winning an Olympic medal. “India has been rowing for a long time. However,rowing as a sport,has been found difficult to expand in this country. Also,after having a long chat with the coaches today,I believe though all of them have the right ideas,the execution and also the coaching philosophy to some extent needs a change. However,with the kind of work that the Indian Army seems to be putting in with their rowers being allowed to train full-time will definitely help the sport grow and the talent to grow,” said Redgrave,who was conferred his knighthood in 2001.

Having been a shining beacon of excellence in endurance sports,Redgrave said the increased scrutiny on doping violations was something that was doing good things for sport in general. “I believe that sport is definitely cleaner than what it was 50 years ago with the increased doping control regulations. Dope testing is very important and it is a heartening feeling that people who are trying to cheat are being caught,” he said.

Redgrave’s academy will be run by his close confidant Paul Turner,and he said the potential of training almost 50,000 individuals through the academy was something that held a lot of promise for him. “India as a rowing nation is still developing. Apart from the Army,there are a very few people who are seriously into rowing. This academy will offer young and old people to try their hand at serious technical rowing. Also,with the sheer volume of students that this academy hopes to reach,the chance for some amazing talent to crop up is always there,” he said.

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