Growing up in the Bundaberg Region Elizabeth Newell was encouraged to follow her passion for rowing and she will soon represent Australia in the sport in Namibia.
Elizabeth will join two other athletes, Morgan Hodgson and Marcus Della Marta, who have been invited to represent Australia at the upcoming 2022 Commonwealth Rowing Association (CRA) Beach Sprint Championships held at Walvis Bay, Namibia from 2 to 4 December.
Elizabeth was invited based on her performance at the 2022 Australian Coastal Rowing and Beach Sprint Championships.
This is the first time Rowing Australia has selected athletes to compete at an international coastal rowing regatta.
Elizabeth said she started rowing at St Luke’s Anglican School and also rowed for the Bundaberg Rowing Club, which she said were both instrumental in helping her succeed in the sport.
“I took part in a Learn to Row Program at St Luke’s when I was in Year 7 and really enjoyed the sport,” she said.
“I continued rowing for both St Luke’s and Bundaberg Rowing Club and in this time, I was fortunate to be coached by fantastic coaches including Ford Carson, Berry Brown, and John Pressler.
“They gave me an enormous amount of time and advice and helped develop my rowing and my passion for the sport.
“Mr Pressler provided opportunities for myself and other rowers to attend a number of different events including State and National Championships and events in New Zealand.
“Attending these different competitions increased my love for rowing and desire to achieve within the sport.”
In 2020 Elizabeth was selected in the Queensland Youth Eight, but unfortunately due to covid the national championships were cancelled.
In 2021 she was reserve for the Queensland Queen's Cup crew and this year she was selected in the crew rowing in the bow seat.
Elizabeth recently won four gold medals at the Australian Coastal Rowing Championships, securing her place in the international event.
“This year I competed in the inaugural Australian Coastal Rowing Championships, which were held in Noosa in August,” she said.
“I competed in a number of different events including singles, mixed doubles, and mixed quads, coming away with four gold medals.
“From these championships, Rowing Australia has invited myself and two other rowers to represent Australia at the Commonwealth Coastal Rowing Championships in Namibia.
“I will compete in solo and mixed double events. Coastal rowing is a new rowing format in Australia which is growing in popularity across the world and will be included in the Commonwealth Games in Victoria and possibly in the LA Olympic Games.”
The regatta will be hosted by the CRA in conjunction with the Namibian Canoe and Rowing Federation.
“I have never competed for Australia before and I am looking forward to the challenge of rowing against other Commonwealth competitors in Namibia,” she said.
“I will be competing in the Open Beach Sprint events in both a single and mixed double.
“Beach sprints involve starting on the beach, running to your boat, racing out 250m around buoys and back into the beach running back to the finish line.
“Unfortunately, Rowing Australia is not providing financial assistance for the competition and costs will be self-funded. A Go-Fund Me has been created to help the other athletes from UQBC and myself.”
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