Vanuatu Rowing Association is proud of the efforts of Rillio Rii who has not only achieved a personal best at the World Rowing Beach Sprint Finals in Shenzhen, China, but recorded the fourth fastest time at the event.

Eleven crews contested the men’s solo event and with Rio Rii, having won the Commonwealth Beach Sprints in 2018, he was a rower to watch.

Rio didn’t disappoint but was unlucky to be drawn against the eventual silver medalist in the early rounds. Beach sprints involve rowers racing from a beach start and running to the boat before completing a 500-metre slalom course returning to the beach and running to the finish line.

In the qualification rounds Rio came up against the Chinese sculler who had recorded the fastest time in the Friday time trials. The Chinese sculler eventually went on to win the silver medal with the gold going to the Mediterranean champion from Spain.

At the end of the day, Rio’s time of 2:35 minutes was a personal best time and 4 seconds faster than his winning time in the UK. This made him the fourth-fastest men’s solo rower of the competition and unlucky to not have made the semi-finals.

Having only started coastal rowing in the lead up to the Commonwealth Beach Sprints Championships in 2018, where Rio took Gold, the Vanuatu Rowing Association is confident that these results are just the beginning of success for Vanuatu in Coastal Rowing.

Currently there are no coastal rowing boats in Vanuatu and Rio has been training in still water boats so to have achieved such a great result is even more outstanding.

We hope that as Coastal Rowing builds momentum in Vanuatu and the Pacific and is added to the Olympic Agenda that we will be able to source sponsorship for the purchase of equipment and to support athletes to continue to represent Vanuatu.

Rio now heads back across the sea to Hong Kong to join up with Luigi Teilemb, Rio2016 Olympian, to compete in the World Coastal Rowing Championships from the 1st to the 3rd of November.

The Vanuatu Rowing Association is so proud of Rio’s achievements and thankful for coach, Andrew Mackenzies dedicated support.

GOOD LUCK Rio, Luigi and coach, Andrew in Hong Kong at the World Rowing Coastal Championships!!!

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