Inductee - Ian Rowling

Ian Rowling

Ian Rowling


GIan Rowling started paddling kayaks in Adelaide as a 14 year old, to help prepare him for when he was able to compete on surf skis in the cadet ranks of surf lifesaving.

But Ian soon realized there was more potential to compete on the world stage in kayaks than in craft events at surf lifesaving carnivals. A refocus led to his selection in the Australian Team to compete at the World Junior Championships at Castelgondolfo in Italy. He teamed up with David Pummeroy in the K-2 1000 metres to win a bronze medal.

A move into the open ranks coincided with Ian setting his next goal which was to represent Australia at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Still living in Adelaide Ian suffered a serious set back when he was knocked off his bicycle on a training ride, by a red light running truck. The most serious of his injuries - a broken jaw - had to be wired shut for the next three months. This effected his preparation for the national selection trials and ended his Olympic aspiration.

Ian trained the house down and came back in the following year to make selection in his first senior Australian team. As a result he was offered an Australian Institute of Sport Scholarship on the Gold Coast. Later that year he won through to a trials berth at the World Championships in Bulgaria in the K-4 1000 meters.

In 1989 the A.I.S facility was nothing more than a coach, a shipping container on the side of a canal near Conrad Jupiters Casino, and a group of talented and dedicated athletes.

Armed with his A.I.S scholarship and in the midst of champions, Ian made the mistake of thinking that it was a matter of course that he would make selection for the Australian Team bound for the World Championships in 1990, but he missed out. This made him more determined to achieve success. His training moved to a new level and ensured his selection in the Australian Team bound for the 1991 World Championships in Paris.

Ian won a silver medal in the K-4 10 000 metres, and was pipped for third place in the K-4 1000 metres by Czechoslovakia.

The following year at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics Ian and fellow Gold Coaster Steve Wood, with two new crew members, won through to the final of K-4 1000. In a nail-biting finish they crossed the line together with the Czec crew- the scoreboard flashed that the Czecs had beaten into third place. The Australians were devastated until they spotted their coach Ben Hutchings jumping and ecstatically applauding them. They relished immediately that the unofficial placing on the scoreboard was wrong and this time it was the Aussies who had beaten the Czecs into third place. The Olympic bronze turned around their disappointment from the World Championships the year before.

Since retiring from Kayak paddling, Ian has won two World Championships in Outrigger Canoeing in 1991 and 1997 with his Gold Coast team Outrigger Australia.