Phuttharaksa Neegree Rodenburg - Thailand ⓒJun-ki Hong
1.How long have you been rowing?
I started in 1997. I first saw a rowing boat in 1996 and as I love all types of sport thought I would give it a go. I had been kayaking and canoeing for a while but always felt so trapped because I couldn’t use my legs – as soon as I got in a rowing boat it just made me feel so free.
2.How old are you? How tall are you and how heavy?
I am 38 years old, 165cm tall and 59kg.
3.What are your aims for the Asian Olympic Qualification Regatta here in Chungju?
I would like to qualify.
4.Where do you hope to finish at the Olympics in London?
I of course aim to do my best but it is so hard for us Asian ladies to compete against the European countries at the Olympics because they are all so big – please FISA can we have a lightweight women’s single event!
5.Who is your sporting hero?
Rob Waddell – he is such an amazing guy.
6.What is your best result?
I came second at the 1999 Olympic Qualifiers in Japan.
7.Will you continue after London 2012?
No I think I will stop rowing at an international level and just train and compete in Thailand for fu
n – or maybe the Masters?!
8.Do you have a family?
I got married this year. My family support me in my rowing but I don’t think they fully understand why I do it also travelling around and training so much makes it very difficult for everyone.
9.What do you think of the course and camp in South Korea?
The course is good – when there is no wind…..
10.How do you find the food here?
I never have any trouble with different countries as I’ve discovered I eat everything and can sleep anywhere.
11.Is rowing in Thailand growing?
Slowly yes but it’s very difficult to get women involved in the sport because it is physically hard and takes place outside. We’ve been working at increasing the numbers of juniors in the country but then they go to university get jobs or married and stop rowing. I think there are less than 20 women rowers in Thailand which is why I can still compete!
12.Do you get support from government?
We get support for camps and travel only.
13.Does anyone in the Thai team work outside of rowing?
Yes a lot of us work for the Navy.
14.What do you like to do in your free time?
We only get Sunday off each week so I sleep, eat and watch TV.
15.What do you think helps make you a successful rower?
First you need the physical attributes, then you need to love the sport, then be mentally strong. Technique and power can be added over the years with good coaching.
16.What are facilities like where you train?
We don’t have very many boats because they are expensive. We row on a 10km stretch of river and have access to a dam and a 2500m lake. The National team moves it’s base around each year. This year we are in Korak everyone’s favourite training location is Mabprachan Lake because it is close to the beach!
17.How many people row in Iraq?
There are less than 100 rowers in Thailand and only 2 or 3 clubs with very few boats most of which have been donated or sponsored.
18.What’s your message for all the Asian countries competing here in Chungju?
Since I started rowing each year I’ve seen more people and more countries within Asia take up the sport. The rowing in Asia has also become much more competitive and the racing a lot closer – in the 1999 olympic qualifiers there were three asian women single scullers racing here in Chungju there are 16 – it is so good to see. It is now up to the new generation of Asian rowers to close the gap on the European stage and I really, really would love to see us win medals at the Olympics. So good luck to you all and train hard!