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Macdonald stars as rowers win six medals in Italy

South African rowing was in the spotlight at The Memorial Paolo D’Aloja regatta hosted in Piediulco, Italy, winning six medals, including one gold, by Kirsten Macdonald in the women’s lightweight sculls. She also won silver in the heavyweight sculls.

The South African team consisted of 11 RMB National Squad athletes, six junior provincial athletes and four coaches. The junior South African athletes joined the National Squad at the regatta on the World Rowing Development Camp and were hosted by the Italian Rowing Federation.

The Memorial Paolo D’Aloja regatta attracts some of the world’s top athletes, including past Olympians. The regatta is the first international regatta of the season and is a key indicator of how pre-season preparation has been going. The regatta drew in rowers from all over the world. After two days of finals, host nation Italy won the 2022 edition with 77 points, ahead of Romania (58) and Greece (25).

“Racing in this regatta is absolutely essential as it keeps you honest and exposes whatever weaknesses you need to address as a team or individual,” said National Squad coach, Tiego Loureiro. “It also gives an early indicator of your opposition’s speed and thought processes in terms of selection and boat classes.”

Team SA raced incredibly well in spite of the strong crosswind making rowing very challenging. Kirsten Macdonald put on a brilliant performance, taking gold in the women’s lightweight single scull and silver in the women’s heavyweight single scull.

As the team returns to South Africa, the National Squad resumes training in preparation for the National Selection regatta happening from 6-8 May where final selections will take place for our teams.

“The National Squad and junior athletes have made us proud,” says Alison Badenhorst, chief marketing officer at Rand Merchant Bank. “There are some remarkable stories of courage and perseverance from South Africa’s rowing community. Our rowers are putting resilience into practice and remain committed, against many odds. RMB continues to support and celebrate their courage.”

The Memorial Paolo D’Aloja Regatta is usually held annually to honour the former Italian Rowing Federation President of the 1970s and 1980s.

RESULTS
Women’s lightweight single scull:
Kirsten Macdonald (1st, 10min 05.36sec)
Women’s heavyweight single scull: Kirsten Macdonald (2nd, 7:58.51)
Men’s pair: James Mitchell and Sandro Torrente (2nd, 8:04.34)
Women’s double scull: Katherine Williams and Courtney Westley (2nd, 9:18.38)
Junior men’s single scull: Sasha Mosig (3rd, 7:35.91)
Men’s pair: Chris Baxter and James Mitchell (3rd, 6:48.40)