A few days before the start of the European Championships in Munich, single driver Oliver Zeidler criticized the German Rowing Association (DRV) and demanded comprehensive consequences. “If you look at the results of the season in rowing, it’s a debacle. We haven’t been this bad for a long time. The downward spiral that started in 2010 is turning faster and faster,” said the 2019 world champion in an interview with “Münchner Merkur” published on Wednesday.
Zeidler, world and two-time European champion, is one of the few German contenders to win the European Championships from August 11th to 14th on the former Olympic track in Oberschleißheim. According to the 26-year-old from Ingolstadt, the dwindling medal haul at major events in recent years and the poor season balance of the DRV fleet at the World Cups in Poznan and Lucerne require a rethink: “But we don’t have anyone in the German Rowing Association who has this idea of competitive sports. It’s time to take responsibility. Something has to change there.”
To underpin his criticism, Zeidler referred to the development of the once successful German men’s quadruple sculls, which had completed the World Cup final in Lucerne in mid-July as penultimate in the B final.
“And what do you do then? The coach applies for two weeks’ vacation afterwards, and the sports director (Mario Woldt, editor’s note) approves it. It is legitimate for an employee to request leave. But whoever approves it in the end should be thrown out,” he commented.
Furthermore, the insufficient sports funding is partly responsible for the misery. “We’re not professionals in Germany, but we have to compete against professionals. The claim of society is always that we should get as many medals as possible. But then a corresponding rethinking must take place. You don’t get anything without effort,” said Zeidler. In addition, a better distribution of funds in rowing and a change in the base system could contribute to more professionalism: “We have to completely rethink and question everything.”