The Finest of the Finest of 2019

24 November 2019

On 14 October, FISA, World Rowing, announced the finalists for the 2019 World Rowing Awards. Then a couple of days ago, at the World Rowing Awards dinner during the 2019 World Rowing Coaches Conference in London, it was time to announce which rowers, crews and coaches were the recipients of the 2019 awards, World Rowing writes in a press release.

The pair dominated the Men’s and Women’s Crew of the Year with Croatia and New Zealand showing their dominance. The success of New Zealand’s year also saw the country taking out the top coach for 2019. A French university student won the Filippi Spirit Award, while Australia showed their strength in sustainability. Great Britain went home with the best Para Crew of the Year and Australia’s Kim Brennan was the supreme winner of the Thomas Keller Medal.

World Rowing Sustainability Award
Spring Creek Regeneration Project, Australia
A regeneration project at the Kinross Wolaroi School in New South Wales is enhancing the ecosystem around the reservoir where the rowers train. Spearheaded by head rowing coach, Tobias Wehr-Candler, the ongoing project is removing invasive plant species and replanting with Australian natives.

Filippi Spirit Award
Jean Maillard, CentraleSupelec, France
Maillard’s field of study is applied plasma physics and as a PhD student he is working on technology to recycle CO2 and convert it into biofuel. Maillard took up rowing at CentraleSupelec and by his second year he was head of the club and organising the day-to-day activities. Maillard helped the club increase their annual budget and the number of rowers.

World Rowing Coach of the Year
Gary Hay, New Zealand
At this year’s World Rowing Championships Gary Hay’s crews took away two World Championships titles – the women’s pair and women’s eight. Hay has been a regular for New Zealand on the coaching scene and has gained ongoing success including coaching the women’s pair to a World Best Time in 2017.

World Rowing Para Crew of the Year
Ellen Buttrick, Giedre Rakauskaite, James Fox, Oliver Stanhope and Erin Wysocki-Jones, PR3 mixed coxed fourGreat Britain
This new combination for 2019 brought the British back to the top of the PR3 mixed coxed four. They not only won the World Rowing Championships, but they also set a new World Best Time during the regatta.

World Rowing Men’s Crew of the Year
Valent and Martin Sinkovic, men’s pair, Croatia
The Sinkovic brothers have won the Men’s Crew of the Year before, but last time it was for their success in the men’s double sculls. They then set a new challenge for themselves and made it to the top of the pair. Throughout this season the Sinkovics have been one of the most consistent crews in the men’s pair. They won the European Championship title and the World Championship title. This was despite overcoming injury along the way.

World Rowing Women’s Crew of the Year
Grace Prendergast and Kerri Gowler, women’s pairNew Zealand
Gowler and Prendergast are becoming synonymous with success in the pair. They have been a dominant force since 2017 in this boat, but this year was particularly stunning as the duo not only took gold in the pair but also were part of the gold medal winning eight. This achievement meant racing six out of the eight World Championship race days.

Thomas Keller Medal
Kim Brennan, Australia
Kim Brennan is the winner of rowing’s most prestigious award, the Thomas Keller Medal. This comes following a career that ended on a high note by winning gold in the women’s single sculls at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Along the way Brennan did the rare feat of racing and medalling in two Olympic events. She did this in the single and double at the London Olympics. The diverse rower has spent time racing in the pair and eight with the Beijing Olympics included in her repertoire. Brennan is also a World Rowing ambassador for clean water.

Distinguished Service to International Rowing
Mike Tanner and Mike Williams, Hong Kong China and Great Britain
The two Mikes are both long-serving members of the FISA Council and FISA Executive and both have contributed exceptional time, knowledge and experience to rowing. Mike Tanner served as Chair of the FISA Events Commission with Mike Williams the FISA treasurer.

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