Benedict Tufnell

Sir Steve Redgrave To Take On Chinese High Performance Role

by Benedict Tufnell

Sir Steve Redgrave has been appointed this week as the new high performance director of the Chinese national rowing team. The five-time Olympic rowing champion’s appointment is the first of what is predicted to be several high profile, foreign appointments to be made by the Chinese in their bid to increase their Olympic medal haul in Tokyo 2020 and Paris 2024. The Chinese, who have won only one Olympic rowing gold in their history, namely in the women’s quad in Beijing in 2008, have set themselves a target of winning two rowing golds in Tokyo. They achieved a total of two bronze medals in Rio in 2016.

Redgrave’s task will be to advise coaches and administrators, as well as overseeing general team structure, to help the Chinese deliver on their new ambitious target. It is believed that he has signed a lucrative six-year contract and will begin working with the team as soon as this weekend, at the season’s first world cup in Belgrade, Serbia.

Sir Steve Redgrave signs Chinese high performance contract with the president of Chinese Rowing Association Dr Liu Aijie.

Redgrave has said he intends to continue in his current role as Chairman of Henley Royal Regatta, “with the committee’s blessing.” It means he is unlikely to be relocating to China, choosing instead to travel back and forth and work remotely where possible in his advisory capacity.

“There is a hell of a lot of work to be done, but the nation can be potentially one of the top rowing countries in the world,” Redgrave said. “I’ve been looking at: can I make a difference? How I can make a difference; and will I be allowed to make a difference? I have liked what I have seen so far.”


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