NZ rower Twigg driven to prove point in Rio

Fri Mar 11, 2016 8:40pm EST
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By Greg Stutchbury

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - Emma Twigg's selection for this year's Rio de Janeiro Olympics left the New Zealand rower with a mixed range of emotions: relief, frustration and a resigned determination.

The 2014 world single sculls champion was named in the boat for the Aug. 5-21 Games after returning to New Zealand having spent most of last year pursuing post-graduate studies in Europe.

She was dropped from Rowing New Zealand's high performance program as a result -- all rowers must train at their base -- despite the 29-year-old's confidence she could still maintain the levels required to compete internationally while studying.

Fiona Bourke was instead tasked with qualifying the single scull for Rio at last year's world championships in France, but finished 16th, leaving Twigg to chase an Olympic spot at the 'last chance' regatta in Lucerne, Switzerland from May 22-25.

"I knew that last year I could have qualified the boat with the shape I was in," Twigg told Reuters via telephone from the high performance base program's base in Cambridge, about 150 km south of Auckland.

"Whether asking if I regret the decision (to study) then it might be a question for the selectors and potentially the crews who didn't qualify last year because of me not being there."

Twigg, however, was now keen to put the 2015 furor behind her and concentrate on Lucerne, while also being careful to avoid any potential falls off her bike, injuries or sudden illnesses before she hits the water in Switzerland.

"At the end of your day you can't live your life wondering. It was more about personal development and being in Rio, so Murphy's law suggests there is potential for something to happen then," she added.   Continued...

Emma Twigg of New Zealand competes during the women's single sculls semifinal rowing competition at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in Shunyi Rowing-Canoeing Park August 13, 2008.     REUTERS/Aly Song