The moment of interim settlement is drawing near. “We want to be in Tokyo, and then stay on the podium in Paris,” Tom Morris said in the autumn of 2019. At the time, as responsible national trainer, he presented the project “Federal Support Point Belt Rowing in Potsdam”. From Saturday to Monday, their athletes are now challenged to Olympic qualification in Lucerne (Switzerland), when a two-man and four-man start without a heelsman and eighth. To be in Tokyo, as planned, you must win first or second place. “We want to take a chance,” the coach says.
Morris, 36, is an Australian. More than 20 international medal victories are already in her vita as an instructor, including 2016 Olympic women’s silver with Canada’s women’s lightweight double sculls. Since spring 2019 he has been working as a construction assistant in Germany, as Patta women have been a problem group of the German Rowing Association (DRV) for years. A medal spot at the World Championships was last achieved in 2007, at the Olympics in 1992. “We’ve made a lot of progress. We believe in ourselves,” says a person with intensive sports psychology training.
At the 2019 World Cup, the main qualification for the Tokyo Summer Games, their boats were still clearly behind. “To be honest, as a young team, postponing the Olympics for a year came in handy,” says Melanie Goldner. “We trained a lot together and improved,” says the RC Potsdam athlete. In the capital of Brandenburg, the DRV belt women were centralized, which is like an “ongoing training camp”, she says. “It brings a common rhythm and connects together.”
Goldner sits in the eighth, a boat class that is particularly charismatic in Germany. Because of men. “We want women to establish themselves as a brand as well,” says Morris. Thanks to the support, marketing has already begun with an entertaining website. In the “Row to Tokyo” project, “fan articles” were created in association with an artist. Shirts, pants, towels and flip-flops, for example, are sold to raise funds for further development of the team. “The response has been very positive,” Anna Hartl says.
Last autumn, like Goldner, the Potsdam Women were involved in winning the eighth-place European Championship silver medal. First Warning Sign. Only finished fifth at the Continental Championships this April. The crew was then reshuffled, with Hartl, among other things, falling out. She will now run both of them instead. “It was a disappointment at first because the chances are better in eighth,” she says. “But I accept the challenge. In the end I keep fighting for the same goal: Tokyo.”
For the 2021 Games, Germany, by far the most successful rowing country in Olympic history, has so far qualified in only six of the 14 boat classes. So there is a lot to do in Lucerne. Isabel Hubner is the third RCP athlete to start. It is part of the fours that have little chance of success at present. Paris is perspective. Then precious metal must be disposed of for the Potsdam Women’s Belt Project.