1 June 2019
By Chris Dodd
Chris Dodd is at the European Championships in Lucerne where he went to a luncheon earlier today.
A small gathering at the top of the stairwell in the Rotsee rowing centre gave birth to an instant tradition on semi-finals day of the European Championships. Matt Smith, executive director of FISA, World Rowing, invited as many holders of the Keller Medal as he could round up to meet Dominik Keller, son of the former FISA president Thomi after whom the prestigious award is named, in front of the list of winners carved on the wall. After a short introduction from Smith and a welcome from Keller, the four medal holders present were photographed and entertained to lunch with FISA council members, former chairmen of FISA commissions (the Silver Foxes), and members of the European Championships organisers.
‘Every year from now on the holders of Keller Medals will be invited to be photographed and eat lunch during Lucerne regatta,’ Smith told the assembled company that included Thomas Greiner (Germany, 1991), Giuseppe Abbagnale (Italy, 1997), Elisabeta Lipă (Romania, 2008) and Iztok Čop (Slovenia, 2015).
The purpose of establishing a tradition is to renew the connection between Lucerne and Switzerland with FISA’s top honour. When the medal was inaugurated in 1990 presentations usually occurred at the regatta on the Rotsee, but nowadays are carried out at award ceremonies at World Rowing conferences. The honours board and annual get-together will, it is hoped, strengthen the ties between medal holders with international rowing’s most popular venue and with the sport itself.
A full list of the Thomas Keller Medal recipients is here.