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Olympian Dara Alizadeh competes at World Rowing Cup

Dara Alizadeh competes for Bermuda in Brazil this year

Dara Alizadeh is eager to test himself as he steps up his Olympic Games preparations by racing at the World Rowing Cup event in Lucerne, Switzerland.

With the Games in Paris now little more than two months away, the 30-year-old is preparing to get back on the water in a competitive environment for the first time since sealing his qualification at the World Rowing Americas Regatta in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in March.

While Alizadeh is keen to be competitive at the three-day event, which starts on Friday and features a total of 234 rowers from 43 nations across 23 boat classes, his focus remains on trying to hit peak condition in time for the start line at the Olympics.

“This is my first race back since qualifying and so I’m keen on seeing how competitive I am, but more so in the sense for myself to see the level that I am at,” said Alizadeh, who will be representing Bermuda at his second Olympics after competing in the single sculls in Tokyo.

“I don’t really have any expectations for the event because you never really know what to expect. It will be more of a personal challenge to myself and be a good metric as to where I stack up against the rest of the field at this stage of my training.

“It’s a good opportunity to experience a race again and see who I’m up against. After being away from competition, it’s a chance to remind myself what racing feels like and have that pressure of competing.

“The focus is all about reaching my peak for the Olympics. It’s not about being king of this event because it's more important to focus on the bigger picture.”

Having taken time to recover, both physically and mentally in the weeks after qualifying for the Games, Alizadeh concedes the rigour of getting back into consistent training initially proved tougher than he anticipated.

“After qualifying I took a couple of weeks off just to try and recover physically, but also to ease down mentally because I was exhausted,” added Alizadeh, who has based his training around the Docklands area in the East End of London.

“That is the longest break I have taken in a while and trying to get back into training was pretty rough. All the work I had done in the build up to the qualifier had gone and it took a little while to get back to the level I was at. It was expected, but I definitely had to reawaken the body.

“I’ve been training on a course next to London City Airport, which is buoyed and has proper lanes. The wind really picks up on the course and so that has been great practice and really the ideal conditions.

“Preparations for the Olympics have been going really well and I’m well into my training block again with everything geared towards being ready for the Games.”

Alizadeh conceded that qualifying for a second successive Games had not registered immediately afterwards but admitted he now had a full appreciation of the magnitude of representing Bermuda again on the world’s biggest sporting stage.

“It has certainly hit home now and it all feels very real again,” said Alizadeh, who is also planning on racing in another World Cup race in Poznan, Poland, next month as his final outing ahead of the Games.

“All of my training is now shaped towards being in the best possible place for the Games and that is the full focus of my mind.

“I’m also trying to take the time to enjoy the process leading up to the Olympics and everything that includes. Obviously the Games themselves are really important but there are a lot of other things that I need to try and enjoy and properly take in, because that’s important too.

“I’m trying to enjoy the whole build up, including the training process. That’s one positive lesson I took from the last time I qualified.”

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Published May 23, 2024 at 7:55 am (Updated May 23, 2024 at 7:48 am)

Olympian Dara Alizadeh competes at World Rowing Cup

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