Rowing: Wilson still going strong 50 years on

Riverton rower John Wilson before the Masters Games rowing competition at the Otago Harbour on...
Riverton rower John Wilson before the Masters Games rowing competition at the Otago Harbour on Saturday. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
John Wilson, of Riverton, was back on the boat on Saturday in the rowing competition at the Masters Games, and showed he has not lost any of his skills.

Wilson won all his grades he competed in in the 70-74 years age-group, winning in the singles, doubles, mixed doubles and quad.

He entered in an eight of mixed ages and managed to finish third in a race across many different age grades.

The rowing was delayed on Saturday until the afternoon for the wind and drizzle to clear, but conditions were fine for the meet.

Wilson has been rowing since he attended Otago Boys' High School as a teenager more than 50 years ago.

He spent two years there before he returned home to Riverton where he continued in the sport.

In 1966, he teamed up with Alistair Ward to win the national championship pairs.

The duo were the only Southland athletes to have won a red coat for a premier rowing title for 40 years until Olympian Nathan Cohen won a title.

The retired beef and sheep farmer still rows most days at Riverton and said they were lucky to have such an active club.

Being so handy to the water meant it was easy to keep up in the sport.

Everyone was slowing down somewhat but it was still good to get out on the water.

He also competed in indoor rowing competitions last week, winning in both the 2000m and 1000m events. He covered the 2000m in under 7min 20sec and the 1000m in about 3min 20sec.

But he preferred to be on the water.

The Masters Games finished yesterday after nine hectic days.

Touch and tennis were two of many sports which concluded the games yesterday.


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