Here at Targetspace, there are a few of us who enjoy the sport of rowing, both in competing and coaching.
It was a great pleasure for Michael Knapp, our Head of Sales, to attend Henley Royal Regatta at the beginning of July, and see some amazing racing. As a previous competitor, he is really passionate about the sport.
A most astonishing race happened in the finals on Sunday. Mahe Drysdale, Olympic gold medallist and 5 times winner of the Diamond Challenge Sculls was pitched against the Belgian, Hannes Obreno. Hannes had just won the 'last chance' regatta at Lucerne to qualify for Rio. Most thought it was a foregone conclusion that the New Zealander, Drysdale would be the victor, matching the six win record that Stuart 'Sam' Mackenzie had set many years ago for this event.
We watched as Obreno led from the start, but we thought, ah, not to worry, Drysdale will have this, he's pacing his race. Listening intently to the tannoy at the start, we couldn't believe how the race was unfurling, there was so little between them. They were matching each other bow ball for bow ball.
In the second half of the race, they were level, then Obreno stepped up his rate and pulled away. Drysdale dropped his rate of sculling at the progress boards from 35 to 28 and paddled over the last few metres behind the new Henley champion. The verdict; 2 lengths.
In the subsequent interview Obreno said 'I feel amazing, when I crossed the line, just wow!'
It was fantastic to witness this show of single mindedness, tenacity and strength. He refused to be flustered by the opposition and kept the faith.
Not a bad set of skills to live and work by.