The Rii brothers, Risu Nickrobson and Rillio Rio Rii, have been making history for Vanuatu over the past month as they proudly and professionally represent on the world stage.
In August, Risu became the first rower from Vanuatu to compete in the World Junior Rowing Championships. Leading up to Worlds he and his coach Jessica Richardson travelled to the Czech Republic to take part in the World Rowing Development Training Camp where Risu received coaching and training from some of the best in the World. As his coach Jess Richardson said “the opportunity to learn from the best has so many benefits, not the least being that Risu can return home and pass the knowledge on to others at the Port Vila Rowing Club”.
All World Rowing events are tuff competitions and World Juniors is no exception, more than 750 rowers raced in the Championships from 57 countries. Risu competed in the mens junior single sculls which had 38 countries competing for gold. The competition was fierce and 11 new junior world best times were set over the course of the Championships.
Considering the high level of competition in attendance, the regatta was a tough week of racing for Risu. After a challenging start, racing against world record holders, he found his rhythm and made a personal best time in his Semi Final to take him through to the windy F Final, ahead of some more experienced and highly ranked rowers. Despite the windy weather conditions Risu managed to be only 4 seconds off his best time and is now ranked 34th in the world.
Shortly after Risu arrived home his brother left for a gruelling 5 weeks in Europe supported by his personal Olympic Solidarity assistance from VASANOC which allows him to train 12-14 sessions a week. Rio won Vanuatu’s first Commonwealth Gold medal win at the Commonwealth Rowing Beach Sprints Championships in England. The Rowing beach sprint was the first of two regattas he will race and Rio has just arrived in Plovdiv, Bulgaria in preparation for the World Rowing Championships which begin on Sunday. Risu and all his friends from the Port Vila Rowing Club will all be proudly looking on as Rio competes in the World Championships racing for a new personal best.
Vanuatu is really kicking goals on the world rowing stage and Risu and Rio are representing some of the few developing rowing nations where they are truly home grown, having learnt to row, trained and turned into elite rowers here in Vanuatu. So if you want to try rowing to get fit, for fun or to one day compete on the world stage there are a number of ways you can get involved, first anyone can come down to the Port Vila Rowing Club, Tassiriki, on Saturday morning from 7am to 9am or if you have work friends who want to get together and train for 2018 WorkTeam Regatta in October just check out the Vanuatu Rowing Association facebook page or email firstname.lastname@example.org for details.