Two VIRC Men Win Big at World Masters Games

Two VIRC Men Win Big at World Masters Games
Vashon Islanders Jim O’Brien and Steve Haworth had a fruitful world rowing championship regatta at the quadrennial World Masters Games near Turin, Italy, August 7-11.  Led by OBrien’s 2 gold and 2 silver medals, the two teamed up with Canadians Julian Payne and Larry Chung to take the world title in the 60-64 men’s quad (four rowers and 8 oars).  O’Brien’s other world gold came in the 65-69 year-old men’s eight, with fellow Americans from the Kent Mitchell Rowing Club.
O’Brien also got silver in the 60-64 eight, again with Kent Mitchell RC, and in the 55-59 pair with Canadian partner Ilhan Akgul.
O’Brien, Haworth and their Canadian boatmates advanced to the finals in the quad after narrowly winning their 1000-meter heat in 3 minutes and 31 seconds.  In a tightly contested final,  the Vashon-Canada composite boat moved on their two top Australian competitors with a strong push at about 500-meters.  Another burst at 250 meters powered them to a tight half-length win in 3 minutes and 25 seconds.
The quadrennial World Masters Games pit top masters athletes (older than 27 years) from 80 countries in world championship competition in 20 sports.  The 2017 games will be in Auckland, New Zealand.
“”Winning gold at these world games was simply the most satisfying athletic experience of my life,” said Haworth.   “O’Brien is an incredible athlete who simply willed us past those huge Aussies!”
By Jeff Hoyt

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