A top-level Portuguese coach is the pick of the bunch for the Aramoho Wanganui Rowing Club (AWRA) head coach position. But who is he?
Pedro Figueira left his job as national coach for the Portuguese Rowing Federation and shifted to New Zealand to take on the role and immerse himself in what he called the “powerhouse of world rowing”.
He has nearly two decades of professional coaching experience as well as a solid credential backing.
His Bachelor of Law was followed by a Masters in sports management and a level two rowing coaching certificate.
Figueira said his passion for rowing started in 1988 after watching an Olympic eight on television as a 12-year-old boy.
“I knew then I was hooked and by October 5, 1988, I remember the exact day, I started training in a four at a local club,” he said.
The position for the AWRA head coach, replacing Ian Weenink, sparked a vast amount overseas attention.
President of AWRC, Bruce Osborne, said they advertised the position internationally and nationally and were overwhelmed with interest.
“We had applicants from all over the world including Canada, the US, the UK, Ukraine, Portugal and New Zealand of course. We shortlisted four and Pedro came out on top,” Osborne said.
Figueira said he applied for the role because New Zealand is the powerhouse of world rowing and some of the world’s best coaches have come from Whanganui.
“Whanganui is a great nursery for young rowers and it’s an amazing professional opportunity for me as well as a great place for my family to live and great environment to bring up my kids.”
The head coach arrived on a one-year working visa but hopes to live in New Zealand permanently with his family.
“My wife is living in the UK at the moment with our two kids and they will move over around September. “She has a Masters in biology and secondary school teaching and will be looking for a related job in Whanganui when she moves,” he said.