Nearly four years after celebrating a spectacular triumph with his team-mates at the London Olympics, Sizwe Ndlovu (above) has had to make some changes in order to get to the Rio Games, but he believes a place in the SA squad is still within his grasp.
Ndlovu joined James Thompson, John Smith and Matthew Brittain in the lightweight men’s fours boat in London, where they made a late charge to snatch a surprise gold medal.
With Brittain having announced his retirement, and Thompson and Smith concentrating on the pairs event, Ndlovu hopes to be part of a potential heavyweight fours quartet in Rio. Having put on 8kg, Ndlovu said this week he hoped to add another seven.
This would lift him to 85kg, which was still around 10kg lighter than most heavyweight rowers. Ndlovu teamed up with Vincent Breet, Lawrence Brittain and Jonty Smith in the heavyweight boat at last year’s Rowing World Championships in Aigubelette, France, where they were relegated to the C-final.
With a squad of eight men contesting six available spots in the national men’s pairs and fours boats, however, the compilation of the team could change ahead of their final qualifying attempt in Lucerne in May, and again if they make it to Rio.
Ahead of the qualifying regatta, with the last two places for Rio up for grabs, Ndlovu said they would attend a training camp in Lesotho at the end of this month before heading to their base in Italy.