14 Jan 2016

Olympic champion Drysdale gets coach back

12:40 pm on 14 January 2016

Controversial rowing coach Dick Tonks will continue to coach Olympic champion Mahe Drysdale.

Rowing New Zealand chief executive Simon Peterson says they have reached an agreement with single sculler Drysdale and the women's double of Zoe Stevenson and Eve Macfarlane that will allow Tonks to continue to coach them through to the conclusion of the Rio Olympics.

Single sculls silver medallist Mahe Drysdale is confident he's on course for Rio Olympic success.

Mahe Drysdale. Photo: Photosport

Rowing New Zealand terminated Tonks' contract last month after he refused to stop coaching a Chinese crew.

He was also highly critical of the Rowing New Zealand's administration.

Since the termination of Tonks' contract Rowing New Zealand has been working closely with Drysdale to find a workable coaching solution.

"Rowing New Zealand has delivered on its promise to find an appropriate solution for Mahe, who has expressed a wish to remain under Dick Tonks through to Rio," said Peterson.

New Zealand rowing coach Dick Tonks.

Dick Tonks. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

"The Board have agreed to back Mahe's request to make this possible by having a coach contracted outside of the programme. While there are still some details for them to work through, both Rowing NZ and the two crews feel we now have a workable solution in place."

The rowers will continue as part of Rowing New Zealand High Performance programme and use its full facilities, with Tonks joining them out on the water.

Drysdale said he was pleased with the outcome.

"The Olympics have always been the focus," said Drysdale.

"We believe that our best chance of success is being part of the Rowing New Zealand programme, whilst also being able to be coached by Dick Tonks.

"Rowing New Zealand has been fantastic through this process and has only been interested in what is best for us and our performance in Rio," he said.

Peterson said that Rowing New Zealand was empathetic about the situation faced by the three rowers, although he was confident they could have been catered for successfully within the programme.

"We have extremely talented and hard working coaches and outstanding staff in our high performance programme as is witnessed by the fact that we have already qualified more athletes for the Rio Olympics than for any other Olympic Games and we are hopeful of more.

"There are 54 other rowers and five quality coaches working fulltime in our programme in this very important year," said Peterson.