Today’s current champion’s profile features our rowing star, Rio Rii.
Rii made the spot light this year after winning Vanuatu’s first gold medal in Rowing when he made history at this years Commonwealth Beach Sprints in London.
For a nation where rowing was only introduced in 2010, this is a great achievement not only for our 24-year-old champion but for the nation as a whole.
Rowing was not always a sport that the gold medalist participated in. As a cricket player, he and a few friends decided to give rowing a go six years a go.
The boy from Santo fell in love with his newly discovered sport and left the bat, ball and wickets for the water. This is when the journey began.
Born at the Vila Central Hospital in 1994, to a Santo father and Ambaen mother, our golden boy is the second born out of six children.
The fourth child of the family, Risu Rii is also a rower and just recently represented Vanuatu at a competition in the Czech Republic this year.
As an Olympic Scholarship recipient, Rio receives allowance from rowing and trains at the Holiday Inn Resort under Australian coach, Andrew Mackenzie.
Apart from this year’s victorious Commonwealth Beach Championship in London, the Vanuatu Institute of Technology, Building and Construction graduate has competed in various minor competitions abroad and at the following major competitions:
World Championships 2015, France
Australian National Championship 2016
London Open 2018
World Championships 2018, Bulgaria
Our featured athlete now looks forward to next year’s World Championship in August in Austria and the Asian Olympic Qualifiers in early 2020.
After rowing our bench setter looks forward to gaining employment and coaching the young and upcoming rowers.