Argentine rowers Ariel Suarez (R) and Cristian Rosso paddle their scull during a practice in Tigre, a suburb of the capital on the Parana river delta - Reuters
Olympic Games > London 2012

Argentine rowers bridge distance for London tilt

Argentine rowers bridge distance for London tilt

By Reuters
Last update The 29/05/2012 at 08:56 -
By Reuters - The 29/05/2012 at 08:56
Ariel Suarez trains in Buenos Aires and Cristian Rosso 400 kilometres away in Mar del Plata but the Argentine rowers hope hard work and a helping hand from their French rivals will overcome the difficulties of training apart and let them shine at the London Olympics.

The Argentine duo have had to find a way to make their partnership work after teaming up two years ago. The Pan-American double sculls champions hope to do their country proud in London among a group of nations fighting it out behind the medal favourites.

Suarez and Rosso said their cause was helped by a productive training spell with the French team.

"We trained with the French national team and they told us we had a bright future, that the boat looked good but we had to iron out some issue we couldn't see here in Argentina," Suarez told Reuters in an interview.

"We improved a lot in technique, they gave us a lot of confidence. Physically we weren't able to improve much," he said at the national rowing centre in the suburb of Tigre in the delta of the Parana river.

"They showed us how they work ... The change was so big it was like a different sport, another way of rowing," said the 32-year-old, who has been competing since 2000.

After qualifying for the July 27-Aug. 12 London Games at a regatta in Slovenia, the South American pair's goal is to keep getting better, but they are aware that despite their improvements there are teams of a much higher standard.

"We're looking to improve on last year. We want to take that step, reach an 'A' final, that's our goal," Suarez said.

"Our keenness to improve isolates us from thoughts about going to an Olympic Games. That probably takes the pressure off and helps me relax."

The pair debuted together at a World Cup regatta in Switzerland in 2010. That same year they also took part in the world championships in New Zealand, finishing in the top 10 in their category and just outside the final.

Last year, they had an unhappy start with poor results in an old boat with the wrong oars, but there was a radical change at the World Cup in Hamburg where they won a silver medal.

"It was impressive, we didn't expect it," said Suarez.

That success led to two gold medals at the Pan-American Games in Guadalajara in October in the double and quadruple sculls.

"We live in different cities, he in Buenos Aires and I in Mar del Plata (400 km south on the Atlantic coast). We formed a group of four people with an agreed work plan," Rosso told Reuters.

"The coaches look to correct the same things despite the distance so as to work together on technique," the 28-year-old said.

The pair hope this way they will be able to edge closer to the big guns in rowing.

"There are two or three who can win medals, which are out of our reach. Then there are five or six, one or two seconds behind and we're there, from fourth place down," Rosso said.

"New Zealand, Australia, France and Germany are in the first Group. Then in the bunch you have Slovenia, Estonia, Norway, us, Canada, Lithuania. In that peloton of six boats, we want to try to be at the front, to be the first who are below those in the top level."