Rio Olympics: Dianella rower Rhys Grant proves he can mix it with the best in the world

Rhys Grant of Dianella reacts after competing in the Men's Single Sculls Final B at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.  Picture: Christian Petersen/Getty Images.
Rhys Grant of Dianella reacts after competing in the Men's Single Sculls Final B at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Picture: Christian Petersen/Getty Images.

DIANELLA rower Rhys Grant has proved he can mix it with the world’s best, but says he has yet to reach his potential.

Grant (29) was Australia’s lone singles sculls rower at the Rio Olympics and surged to an overall ninth placing after finishing third in Saturday’s consolation B-final.

The WA Rowing Club member narrowly missed a place in the gold medal final after finishing fifth in his semi-final but overcame disappointment to record his fastest time of six minutes and 51 seconds in his last race.

Grant, who spoke to the Eastern Reporter from Rio, said his Olympic journey was too complex to sum up in a few words.

“It was full of ups and downs, with a number of setbacks and difficulties but in the end I overcame them and ended up having a great regatta,” he said.

“My most enjoyable moment was my semi-final race, where I was racing against the eventual Olympic champion and had an amazingly gutsy and hard race.

“I am very happy with my performance. The single scull is an amazingly difficult event and to get as high a result as I did, I am still struggling to believe it.”

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The Trinity College and Curtin University graduate said his family flew over to support him.

“A very proud mum and dad, who will tell everyone and anyone about me, and my brother who’s enjoying a trip with the parents and then my girlfriend, who has come over too,” Grant said.

Despite his achievement, he said he was not sure what would come in the future.

“Getting here is a culmination of many years continuous training, but I do not think I have reached my potential yet, so we will see if that makes me want to go on,” he said.

WA Rowing Club head coach Joseph Tamigi said rowing did not come naturally for Grant but he was a determined young man. |

“I have had the pleasure of knowing Rhys and his parents and I was one of his coaches when he went to school at Trinity College at 12 or 13 years old,” he said.

“Rhys was probably in the Australian team wilderness for a little while but he kept on training and working hard and changed coaches several times.

“It is fantastic and the ninth overall placing is just a testament to how hard he has worked over a long period of time.”

Captain Nick Wakeford said Grant had proved himself many times in his career.

“The best thing about this Olympics is that he has gone up and absolutely showed everyone he actually has it, and hopefully he will continue to Tokyo,” Wakeford said.

“We are really proud of him and I think the whole of Perth and the rowing community.”

Grant said he had been overseas since January and he was eager to sleep in his own bed when he comes home to Dianella.