Sports

Paddling along

Jamaican-born Christine Roper making an impact in global rowing; named World Athlete of the Month

BY HOWARD WALKER
Senior Staff reporter
walkerh@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

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Jamaican-born Canadian rower Christine Roper has been named World Rowing Athlete for the month of May by the world governing body, and she is excited.

Christine Roper is the daughter of Brian Roper, general manager of Beaches Ocho Rios Hotel, a Sandal Resorts International propery.

On hearing of his daughter's accomplishment, Roper said his “glad bag buss”.

Christine Roper, 27, left Jamaica for high school in the United States as a 14-year-old, where she learnt the sport and is now one of the world's best rowers.

“It is very exciting and I feel proud. It is always nice to be recognised for all the hard work that we have put in, so it's very touching,” she told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.

Brian said the feeling is absolutely amazing because of how hard she has worked.

“To achieve such a recognition doesn't come by just turning up — it comes by being better than everybody else. As she said when she came fifth in the Rio Olympics, that's not what she wants. She wants to be in the middle of the podium,” said the doting dad.

After graduating from university in 2011, Christine made her senior international debut for Canada at the 2013 World Championship, capturing bronze with the eight-member rowing team and silver with the four-member team.

She followed that up with silver in 2014 and another bronze in 2015, and entered the 2016 Rio Olympic as a medal contender.

“I competed in Rio in 2016 and my team were very favoured to do really well and we had been very successful up that point. But we came fifth and, while I am proud of how we did in Rio, I want to be on the podium and I wanted more,” said Christine Roper.

“So I took a little time off now I am back. I want to have fun along the way, obviously, but I am very hopeful if I keep improving that I can get there. I want to see if I can end up with an Olympic medal, as I couldn't do it in 2016,” she reiterated.

Now one of the top rowers in the world, Roper is more than willing to give back to her country of birth now that a Jamaican rowing federation has formed.

“I am so excited. I can't help, but wonder how I can be a part of it. Probably after Tokyo I come home. I still live here and I don't really know the people involved yet, but I think it is extremely exciting and Jamaican people are extremely talented athletes, and I would love to get involved anyway that I can. For that, I am so excited,” said Roper.

With her parents Brian and Sally living in Jamaica, Christine makes it her duty to return home regularly.

“The last time I was in Jamaica was for Christmas and New Year's. I try to come home once, if not twice a year. We don't get a lot of time off but I try to make it home for the holidays and Christmas times,” she pointed out.

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