Oliver Zeidler with criticism of the association

Et went according to plan for Oliver Zeidler for a long time. After 1250 meters he passed the competition and was the first to row towards the finish line. It looked like gold, the only title at the European Championships for the German Rowing Association. Then a gust caught him and, instead of saving his strength, he had to resist. “That broke my neck.”

On the right, Dutchman Melvin Twelaar came closer and closer with powerful punches and finally overtook Zeidler. “At some point,” he said, “my arms turned blue,” and he even slipped out of the medal ranks in the final meters. The third place of Alexandra Föster from Meschede in the women’s singles on the Olympic regatta course in Munich-Oberschleißheim was the only precious metal in the Olympic boat classes for the DRV.

Lots of work ahead

Zeidler’s final was the last rowing competition of the title fights – and it should have been the highlight, a golden one – 50 years after his grandfather Johann Färber’s Olympic victory at the same place. It would have been a nice story, and it would have lent weight to his criticism at the start of the European Championships. His criticism of the funding system in Germany in general and specifically of the rowing association and sports director Mario Woldt.

He accepted the fact that the pressure was a little greater than it already was because of the ambition to imitate his grandfather – and failed. “In addition to the physique, the head also has to play along,” said Brigitte Bielig, head trainer in the German Rowing Association. But Zeidler will “get over it” and be in top form again at the World Championships in Racice at the end of September. In any case, the defending champion knows what he has to work on. Less on the head, more on the physique in the last 200 meters, he says.

Is caught by a gust: Oliver Zeidler’s (centre) strategy doesn’t work out in the end.

Image: Reuters

Just under an hour after the race, the 26-year-old still seemed taken by Frankfurt’s RG Germania. But the forces were enough to add more verbally. There had been no talks during the EM days between Woldt and Bielig on the one hand and Zeidler on the other. But there was enough talk about each other for the World Champion to know that the two had fundamentally different opinions.



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