Australian named as NZ men's rowing coach

IAN ANDERSON
Last updated 09:41 28/02/2013
Noel Donaldson
Getty Images
PROVEN PAST: Coach Noel Donaldson pictured with the 1996 "Oarsome Foursome" Australian crew.

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Rowing New Zealand has crossed the Tasman to grab storied coach Noel Donaldson to head their men's sweep oar programme.

Donaldson, who has a lengthy track record of Olympic success, will oversee the programme which includes the unbeaten London Olympic gold medallist men's pair of Hamish Bond and Eric Murray, in a four-year plan aiming at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

The 57-year-old Donaldson recently worked as elite development manager in Australia after initially making his name as coach of the Australian "Oarsome Foursome" that won back-to-back golds in Barcelona 1992 and Atlanta 1996 in the men's coxless fours.

He also guided the men's pair to a bronze medal in Sydney 2000 before helping Australia gain one gold, one silver and one bronze medal as head coach at Athens 2004. Donaldson was also high performance director from 2004 to 2008 for Rowing Australia.

Rowing New Zealand's high performance manager Alan Cotter said recruiting a coach of high calibre was a priority in having a successful men's sweep high performance programme looking forward to Rio and beyond.

"Noel is going to be a huge asset for Rowing New Zealand," Cotter said.

"He has a wealth of rowing experience in various coaching roles, including being part of multiple medal winning teams at World Championships and Olympic Games.

"We were looking for someone who had achieved results as a head coach in sweep oar boats, had worked successfully in a high performance programme, had the ability to develop, lead and maintain a strong team culture - and Noel has all of these attributes.''

Donaldson's appointment comes after a change in coaching structure for Rowing New Zealand, with previous head coach Dick Tonks switching roles to head the women's programme, while Calvin Ferguson is in charge of the men's sculling programme.

Donaldson will arrive in New Zealand next week during selection trials at Lake Karapiro for the New Zealand squad to contest the first World Cup regatta of the year to be held in Sydney from March 22-24.

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