Champion rower gives inspirational message

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Kiwi rowing champion Rob Hamill was in Queenstown last week to deliver inspirational messages to young and old.

Hamill spent time with Remarkables Primary kids and local businesspeople at a Chamber of Commerce function last Friday before speaking at a fundraising dinner at the Hilton on Saturday night.

At the Chamber of Commerce function, Hamill told members: “With passion and belief, anything is possible.”

The former Olympic rower and Commonwealth Games gold medallist – who recently made a documentary on the 1978 torture and death of his brother Kerry by the Khmer Rouge – spoke about his marathon ocean rowing achievements.

He and his rowing partner, the late Phil Stubbs, won the inaugural Trans-Atlantic Rowing Race in 1997 and successfully defended the title in 2001 and 2003.

He said while preparing for the 1997 race, his coping mechanism for the daunting 4500km at sea was to not get too worried about the distance.

“I realised it was actually pretty doable,” he says.

“It was about making the decision and committing to it by whatever means.”

He and Stubbs ended up completing their epic journey in 41 days, two hours and 55 minutes.

“It was a fantastic adventure and a life-changing event for me.”

He talked about other sportsmen, like boxer Mohammed Ali, and their never-give-up attitudes.

“I’m a great believer of if you keep getting back up again, you will always win, you will always get there.”