21 Dec 2012

Drysdale commits to Rio 2016

5:04 pm on 21 December 2012

World and Olympic single sculls champion Mahé Drysdale is commiting to another four-year Olympic cycle.

The 34-year-old will take a six-month sabbatical from rowing then Drysdale will be back in the boat at Lake Karapiro for trials in July next year, aiming to gain boat selection for the 2013 World Championships in South Korea in August.

Rowing New Zealand Chief Executive Simon Peterson says they fully support his decision for a break and they believe it will give him the best chance to deliver a world class performance in Rio.

Drysdale says after 12 years and three consecutive Olympic campaigns, it's time to take some time out of rowing to recharge physically and mentally.

He intends to stay fit by training for the Coast to Coast and by completing an Ironman in May.

Drysdale also hopes to participate in the NZPGA golf Championships at the Hills as well as race at the Royal Henley Regatta.

Six out of the nine rowing Olympic medallists will be back into training by January 2013, while the remaining three - Drysdale, Juliette Haigh, and Storm Uru - will pursue new challenges.

Haigh retired earlier in December, and Uru is taking a break from rowing to gain work experience.

But there's still no official word on whether Drysdale will be joined in 2016 by fellow gold medallists Hamish Bond and Eric Murray.

However Radio New Zealand understands the men's pair are keen to carry on to Rio and there should be confirmation from Bond and Murray sometime in the New Year.

Drysdale has won two Olympic medals in the men's single sculls: bronze in Beijing 2008 and gold in London 2012. Mahé is also a five-time world champion (2005, 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2011).