Bundaberg sports star Elizabeth Newell has won gold at the recent Commonwealth Rowing Association Beach Sprint Championships in Walvis Bay, Namibia.
Competing at this level was an achievement in itself for Elizabeth, but winning gold was a very proud moment, especially considering she had only trained for the event in the ocean the weekend before leaving to Namibia.
“I was extremely proud to represent Australia and win gold competing against other commonwealth countries,” Elizabeth said.
“Most of my training has been still-water rowing as coastal rowing is a very new sport to Australia.
“As we do not have access to the specially designed coastal boats at my club in Brisbane, Coastal Rowing Noosa were kind enough to invite us to train in their coastal boats the weekend before we left.
“It was a very competitive event however it was a wonderful atmosphere and the comradery between athletes was great to be a part of.”
Elizabeth said the conditions in Namibia were varied from race to race, adding an extra challenge to competing.
“The conditions were different for every race which added extra challenges considering the different wind and currents which would affect the boat,” she said.
“The Namibian community hosted a wonderful event, and the venue was amazing with the desert meeting the ocean, very different from the Noosa event!
“Coastal rowing is a fantastic event as it can be held in locations across the world and allows many different countries to compete.”
Rowing Australia Chief Operating Officer Sarah Cook OLY said having athletes compete in coastal rowing and beach sprints was a great opportunity to continue to grow the sport.
“The results that our athletes achieved at the recent Commonwealth Rowing Association Beach Sprints Championships were amazing,” Sarah said.
“Coastal rowing and beach sprints are such an exciting emerging discipline of the sport.
“We look forward to its inclusion in the 2023 ANOC World Beach Games in Bali, the 2026 Youth Olympic Games in Dakar, and of the course the 2026 Commonwealth Games in Victoria.
“As momentum builds, we look forward to attracting more athletes from diverse backgrounds and pathways to the sport of Rowing.
“Coastal rowing and beach sprints have just caught its first big wave and we are only just getting started.”
Looking to the future, Elizabeth is excited to go back to flat-water rowing and working as an Occupational Therapist.
“I will be going back to flat-water rowing now aiming for the Queensland state championships in January and then the Australian Championships,” she said.
“I have also just graduated university and will be starting a new job as an occupational therapist and will be working my rowing around that.
“The Australian Coastal Rowing Championships will be held again next year which I hope to compete in again.
“I am very thankful for all the support I have had for me traveling to Namibia and competing in the Commonwealth championships.”
The Commonwealth Rowing Association was formed in 2018 to promote the sport of rowing within the Commonwealth community.
Find out more about the competition here.
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