For the last 8 years, former SUBC and national cox Joe Donnelly has been coaching and assisting the Vietnamese Rowing Team in his own time and with the support of a number of benefactors including other SUBC alumni , Steve Newnham and Phil Walker.
Here is Joe's report on the recent stay in Australia of the Vietnamese Rowing Team and their competition at the Sydney International Regatta.
This year SUBC lent the team a boat - Joe's note of thanks is also below.
From Joe Donnelly
"Just a short note to thank you all for the loan of the W4- for the 5 weeks my team was in Australia. Your support like many others has enabled the Vietnamese team to come to Australia to prepare for the Asian games in August ."
Joe's full report to supporters of the team:
"Dear friends and benefactors,
The Vietnam rowing team has now returned to Vietnam after an improved and successful 5-week visit to Australia.
The 5 weeks included a 4-week training camp in Orange supported by Charles Sturt University, Kinross Wolaroi School, Hertz bus rental, Sharyn and Jamie Gordon and Beth and Greg Michell.
Boats were also provided by Sydney University and especially ALAN Phillips from Race 1 who has helped with boats for our team now for the past 8 years.
Other major supporters are the financial benefactors especially Bill Magennis, Steve Newnham and Phil Walker. Without contributions from these people and many others, the team could not come to Australia to prepare for the Asian Games in August of this year.
The 4-week training in Orange allowed positive improvement for all athletes, with good weather for training, substantial food to support the training program and good equipment made available by the school.
This year the team has also been able to access protein from True Protein organised by Ms Hanh the head of rowing in Vietnam and funded by the province of each rower. We thank Justin and Jess from this company for their assistance and the discount price they offered to enable us to get sufficient material to support the rowers up to the Asian Games in August.
The racing in Sydney showed the benefits of the protein with none of the rowers fading in there performance at the 1200 meter mark which has been a major problem for the team in the past. In the Under 21 LW1X where the gold medal was won by Ms Thao, she came from 6th at the 500mtr mark and 6 seconds behind, to 4th at the 1000mtr mark and 5 seconds behind, to 2 nd and 2 seconds behind at the 1500 meter mark . In the last 500 mtrs she moved through the early leaders and the semi-final winner from Sydney University to win the race by 2 seconds.
The results this year in Australia were the best we have ever achieved and the results are the outcome of the comments above.
The team won 1 gold medal and 1 bronze medal and performed very well in every race. Unfortunately, there was a big storm on Saturday afternoon causing the sprint race to be cancelled. Unfortunately for Vietnam, that was also a race where I feel that our W4X would have won a 3 rd medal.
Overall the races contested, we made 4 A finals winning the Gold medal in the Under 21LW1X and a Bronze medal in the LW4X . We also made 3 B finals winning the W1X and the LW1X by considerable margins and in times that would have placed them 7th in the A finals.
Now the team will continue its preparation for the Asian Games competing in Asian Cup 1 in Singapore in April and Asia Cup 2 in Korea in June.
Thank you again to all of the benefactors around the world that support our team and I hope that we can now deliver our best results ever at the Asian Games in Indonesia in August.