Now that the Henley Royal Regatta in the UK is over we now report the news that Dara Alizadeh was turning heads by wearing an eye-catching black-blazer with ice-cream pink shorts combination into the fabled Stewards' Enclosure where shorts are in fact banned.
However, 'National Dress' is permitted and the unusual costume is the Bermudan Opening Ceremony outfit for the Tokyo 2020 Games, where Alizadeh carried the flag for his country, walking into the Olympic Stadium with Cambridge University coach Rob Baker, who was accompanying him to Japan.
Alizadeh has been rowing with his Bermudian sculls at Henley, after finishing 18th at the Sea Forest Waterway.
Following his win against Italy’s Simone Martini, Alizadeh was interviewed:
Q. - Congratulations, a win in the Diamond single sculls. Talk me through the race, because it was so hard-fought against Martini, you had to come back on him, didn’t you?
Alizadeh – yes, so the start was ok, though I got a good jump, and from that, I think he got a hair ahead going into the quarter-mile. I think we both had steering issues, we both got warned a couple of times and then he got a good jump at the barrier and he probably got half a length or so on me, and I thought I did a pretty good job of just holding on to him. Then come 1200 meters in he was getting warned back to his station and I took that as my chance to inch back a little bit. I took one last look across the Stewards’ and saw that we were still kind of level, down to the wire, and Italians are known for their sprints so I thought I better start making up some ground now. It was a really good race, and I was just lucky to come out on top.
Q. – you talk it through like it was simple and easy. How tough was it?
Alizadeh – it was really tough. He’s a really good sculler, but I think I just had it in me today, but he made it really hard.
Q. – and of course you represented Bermuda in Tokyo in the single sculls as well. Fresh from the Olympics and straight to Henley, how is the body, how is the mind?
Alizadeh – yeah good, my mind these past couple of weeks is just about having fun. Even including Tokyo, I only started sculling a couple of years ago and I just realized that when I’m having fun and not worried about the result and just focussed on the process, the result kind of takes care of itself. I was going to be happy just taking part in the race, even if he had to pit me at the line I could probably live with that.
Q. – and your expectation for the rest of the week, what’s your goal?
Alizadeh – continue having fun. That moment I started worrying about the result and what’s going to happen, I remind myself the only thing I control is me. The singles is a head game, and you can make up a lot of ground is not a lot of time as long as you keep to your guns and not worry too much about what other people are doing, you’ll be all right.