Skip to main content

Rowing | South African Rowing Team Ready to go for Gold at Paris Olympics

In a vibrant display of national pride and unwavering support, the rowing community gathered in Melrose, Johannesburg, to honour three of South Africa's national rowing athletes —John Smith, Christopher Baxter, and Paige Badenhorst. These rowing champions are poised to represent our country on the greatest international sporting stage, The Paris Olympics, later this month.

The event demonstrated the strong support network behind the team, with an atmosphere that was one of excitement and anticipation, as all participants joined in extending their best wishes for the crew's forthcoming endeavours. 

row sa olympic squad

The gathering was marked by heartfelt well-wishes to the dedicated athletes and their coaches including those from distinguished members of the South African Rowing Federation and former rowing champions and sponsors - including headline team sponsor RMB, who expressed their pride and optimism for the team's forthcoming competition.

Rowing South Africa President, Sean Kerr, proudly conveyed that it is with immense pride that Rowing is able to contribute two exceptional crews to Team South Africa headed for Paris. "Our athletes have trained and competed in tough conditions over the past four years to get to this point. I have no doubt that the team will once again do Rowing and indeed Team South Africa proud ! "

The palpable sense of unity and pride left everyone inspired by the athletes' dedication and commitment to representing South Africa. "As proud sponsor of the RMB National Squad, we are inspired by the level of mental and physical determination and teamwork that goes into qualifying and preparing for the Olympics. We have been partnering our national team since 2016 and they repeatedly bring world-class grit in how they show up. We believe in the power of sport to unite, and we are confident that our team will represent South Africa, with a spirit of determination and resilience. We wish them the very best on their journey to Paris and competing at the Olympic games", says Alison Badenhorst, RMB Chief Marketing Officer.

The athletes showed immense gratitude and pride in being chosen to represent South Africa. Paige, the women's single sculler, relayed her experience to be selected to represent her country in Paris is a dream come true. "l am so proud to be South African and I am grateful for the opportunity to wear the green and gold at the greatest sporting event in the world. This is an extremely rewarding moment in my career, and I hope to inspire the next generation of young athletes with my journey".

This sentiment was upheld by John Smith, who is set to compete in the men's pair with crew mate Christopher Baxter. John is a well-seasoned and successful athlete, who shared his thoughts on being an unsuspecting threat. "We are a new combination, a young up and comer and an old rower out of retirement. We have raced the world twice. We have not placed yet. The world expects nothing from us, they don't fear us, and they underestimate us. That makes us an underdog crew. That makes us the dark horse. That gives us all the fuel we need."

Tiago Loureiro, the head coach of the RMB National squad, shares his final thoughts: "It's an extraordinary privilege to represent our country on the world's biggest sporting stage. The main objective of the RMB National Squad is to leave no stone unturned to give themselves the greatest opportunity to perform at their very best. Our excitement to go out there and fly South Africa's flag high keeps the motivation higher."

Men's Pair Background:

The Men's Pair of South Africa heading to the Paris 2024 Olympics is composed of two distinguished rowers: Christopher Baxter and John Smith.

Christopher Baxter, an alumnus of King Edward Vll School and a member of the University of Pretoria Rowing Club, has already made a name for himself as a U23 World Champion and world record holder. His impressive achievements at a young age mark him as one of the promising talents in the sport.

John Smith brings a wealth of experience to the team. An Olympic gold medalist from the 2012 London Games and a World Champion in 2015, John is also a world record holder. He attended St Alban's College and furthered his studies at the University of Pretoria. Beyond his rowing career, John is a commercial real estate agent who has paused his professional work to compete in his fourth Olympics. He balances his athletic pursuits with family life, being a husband and father to two young toddlers.

sa rowing mens pair

Together, Baxter and Smith form a formidable duo, blending youthful vigor with seasoned expertise as they represent South Africa on the Olympic stage.

Women's Single Scull Background:

Paige Badenhorst is set to make her Olympic debut at the Paris 2024 Olympics as the Women's Single Sculler.

Paige's journey in rowing began at St Andrew's School for Girls in Senderwood Bedfordview, where she first honed her skills and developed a passion for the sport. She continued to excel in rowing during her time at the University of Michigan and later at Cambridge University, showcasing her talent and dedication.

Currently, Paige is a member of the RMB National Squad and trains at the University of Pretoria, where she also competes locally. Her determination and perseverance have been evident throughout her career, particularly in her attempts to qualify the Women's Double Scull in 2023. Despite falling short in Serbia and at the Final Qualification regatta in Lucerne, Switzerland, Paige did not lose hope. She came back stronger, convincingly beating her teammates in the trials for the Women's Single Scull, thereby securing her spot in the South African team for the Paris 2024 Olympics.

Paige's selection is a testament to her resilience and commitment. She stands as a role model for young women rowers who look up to her. Her journeyto the Olympics is also a story of support and encouragement, with special thanks to Courtney Westley for qualifying the boat and Katherine Williams for motivating Paige to achieve her best for South Africa.

Paige Badenhorst

As she heads to her first Olympics, Paige Badenhorst embodies the spirit of dedication and excellence, inspiring the next generation of female rowers.

Women's Single Scull (WIX)

Paige Badenhorst

There are a total of 32 entries into the women's single scull (WIX) event this year, and only six places in theA final. To secure a spot in the A final, to race for a medal position (1st place - Gold, 2nd place - Silver or 3rd place - Bronze), Paige will need to start by placing in the top 3 spots in her Heat on the 27th of July. By placing in the top 3 in the Heats she will immediately secure her place to race in the Quarter Final on the 30th of July.

Should she not qualify immediately from the Heats, Paige will race the Repechage event giving her another cha nce to progress to the Quarter Final; she will need to place first or second to move to the quarters. Once qualified for the Quarter Final, Paige will fight to cross the finish line in either first, second or third position to progress to the Semi-final A/B.

The Semi-FinalA/B is to be raced on the 1st of August and she will once again race to finish in the top 3 places to secure her place in the A Final. The A Final is scheduled for the 3rd of August and will see a true display of athletic prowess and skill as the scullers battle it out, hoping for a gold, silver or bronze medal position.

Men's Pair (M2-)

Christopher Baxter (Stroke Seat -2) and John Smith (Bow Seat -1)

In the M2- event there are 13 total entries, and like the WIX there are only six lanes open for the A Final. The men's pair will begin by racing the Heats on the 28th of July, vying for the top 3 positions to move directly on to race the Semi-Final on the 31st of July.

Should they not place in the top 3 in the Heats they will fight to place in the top 3 positions in the M 2- Repechage race on the 29th of July, which will then move them forward to the Semi's.

Once in the Semi-Final the pair will once again need to cross the finish line in either first, second or third place in order to progress to the A Final on the 2nd of August. Once comfortably secure in their lane for the A Final the pair will battle it out against the top crews in the world, each with the dream of taking home an Olympic medal.

pdfRowing Schedule Team_SA

Rowing, 2024, Olympic Games, RMB National Squad

  • Hits: 351

Subscribe to our newsletter