BEIJING Olympic rowing gold medallist Duncan Free will be in Yamba tonight to lend a helping hand to the Lower Clarence Rowing Club (LCRC) juniors travelling to the national rowing titles in Lake Barrington, Tasmania.
Free, who won the coxless pairs in Beijing with former Oarsome Foursome member Drew Ginn, will be speaking at an economic seminar at the Yamba Bowling Club tonight, with all proceeds going to assist with the LCRC's rowers and their families' travel expenses.
LCRC secretary Keryn Saunders said Free's visit to the Clarence Valley was a 'big drawcard' for the club.
“It's a huge thing for the club ... it's not every day people get to hear from such a successful rower,” she said.
“He will be talking about techniques and the passion to reach the top in elite sport.
“It doesn't matter which sport you're into, football, netball ... it will still be fascinating to listen to him.”
Saunders will be travelling with her family to Tasmania and said she had first-hand experience facing the economic difficulties of travelling long distances for regattas.
“The costs are really significant,” she said.
“We have to tow the combined length of our car and trailer down to Tasmania ... we're like a semi-trailer truck.”
With 60 people already confirmed for the seminar and with possibly more to be announced, Saunders said it was a credit to the community for supporting the club's junior rowers.
“It just shows how generous the Lower Clarence, especially the Maclean district, is,” she said.
“Every time we organise a regatta or a meeting, the township gets right behind us.”
Saunders said she was 'extremely disappointed' to miss out on meeting Free, but with her daughter rowing at the nationals, knew it was an opportunity too good to refuse.
“It's a tremendous opportunity to get to go to Tasmania,” she said.
“The kids get to row on completely different water than what they are used to.”
Tickets for the seminar are $10 with the event beginning at 6.30pm. For more information contact Jodie on 6645 2677.