Legendary Kiwi coach Dick Tonks will be a part of the New Zealand team which travels to Rio for the 2016 Olympic Games.
Tonks was removed from his position as coach of the men’s single and women’s double after a dispute with Rowing NZ over the 64 year old’s involvement with Chinese crews.
In a remarkable turnaround, the federation have announced that Tonks, who has coached five crews to gold at various Olympic games, will continue to look after Mahe Drysdale and the women’s double scull. Both sets of athletes wanted Tonks to remain as their mentor in the run-up to the games, and that appeared to sway Rowing NZ Chief Executive Simon Peterson who said that he wanted the best possible lead-in to Rio for the programmes best athletes.
Rowing New Zealand has delivered on its promise to find an appropriate solution for Mahe, who has expressed a wish to remain under Dick Tonks through to Rio,” said Peterson.
“The Board have agreed to back Mahe’s request to make this possible by having a coach contracted outside of the programme. While there are still some details for them to work through, both Rowing NZ and the two crews feel we now have a workable solution in place”.
Mahe Drysdale, the current Olympic champion in the men’s single sculls, spoke of his happiness with the outcome.
“We believe that our best chance of success is being part of the Rowing New Zealand programme, whilst also being able to be coached by Dick Tonks”.
“Rowing New Zealand has been fantastic through this process and has only been interested in what is best for us and our performance in Rio” explained Drysdale.