Only Uru left to fly the flag

22:17, Mar 12 2014
Jade Uru and John Storey
SOUTHERN ROWERS: Jade Uru and John Storey.

There was once a time where you would be bombarded with people rolling there r's when you took a walk around the Rowing New Zealand's High Performance centre at Cambridge.

When it come to New Zealand's elite squad Southlanders were to the fore when ever a squad was named.

However, in the past year or so the numbers have dwindled to the point it has been left to Jade Uru to fly the Southland flag at Lake Karapiro during training.

London Olympic gold medallist Nathan Cohen has retired and 2010 World Championship bronze medallist Louise Ayling followed suit last month.

Meanwhile, Jade's older brother Storm, is now studying at Oxford University but is still rowing and yesterday was named in the university's eight which will contest the annual and prestigious Oxford-Cambridge boat race on April 6.

''I think the nice thing about the Southland rowers is they left on their own terms and decided to take their own time away from rowing. None of them are upset they're all happy with what they're doing,'' Jade Uru said.


''It's lonely being the only Southlander here at the moment but there's still some under-23s hanging around, so it's not too bad. It would be nice to see Southland rowers keep coming through the ranks.''

Uru and the rest of the 2014 New Zealand elite squad started training together this week in Cambridge as the 26-year-old James Hargest College product eyes something a bit different.

He has been regarded as one of the country's best sweep oarsman but has made the switch back to sculling.

He has been named in the men's quad which will compete at World Cups in France and Switzerland before the World Championships in the Netherlands.

Uru would love an Olympic medal at the 2016 Olympics and thinks his best shot could be in the sculling ranks.

''Last year I was pretty disappointed at the World Champs and I knew that the development of the four wasn't really going to happen that quickly, so I thought sculling was the better option.

 It was just hard to leave the sweeping side I suppose, it took me a while to go full sculling. They tried out a four at trials and decided not to pick one and I was lucky enough I had picked sculling earlier.''

He said the move has been a smooth one to date.

''It's not a big transition. It's probably just getting use to holding onto two oars rather than just one. Also sculling is probably more of an up and down movement where sweeping you lean out to one side or pivot around your rigger. But you still put the blade in and still take it out. It's all about efficiency.''


The Southland Times