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Ivorian Athlete On his Path to Rowing Glory

At age 23, Franck N’Dri became the first Olympic rower from Ivory Coast when he participated in the Tokyo 2020 Games. With guidance from his coach, Canadian former Olympic rower Timothy Turner, N’Dri was able to honor the ambition of his late father, a man who was a national kayaking champion. His father introduced N’Dri to watersports and continues to inspire him to become a better rower. Now, N’Dri wants other Ivorian rowers to be able to emulate his Olympic success. He says that one barrier to increasing participation in Ivory Coast is a perception that water sports are unsafe. N’Dri is now preparing for the 2022 World Rowing Championships that takes place in the Czech Republic this September. He has ambitions to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics but his priority is to become one of the best rowers in Africa. The sport has been steadily growing on the continent. In 1992, rowers from just two African countries — South Africa and Zimbabwe — qualified for the Olympic Games, according to the World Rowing organization. At the Tokyo 2020 Games, rowers from 13 African countries qualified, including Benin, Morocco and Namibia.