SPORTS

Hamadou Djibo Issaka, the 'Eric the Eel' of rowing, roared home at Olympic rowing regatta

07/29/2012 06:24 EDT | Updated 09/28/2012 05:12 EDT
WINDSOR, England - "You can do it," roared the announcer at Dorney Lake. Some of the crowd were on their feet, urging him on to the line.

No, this wasn't a British rower sprinting for gold. This was Hamadou Djibo Issaka, crawling to the finishing hooter in last place in a single sculls repechage.

It wasn't quite "Eric the Eel" of Sydney Games fame — but it wasn't far off.

Djibo Issaka, a 35-year-old Nigerien, only learnt how to row three months ago but was given a wildcard to the London Olympics "to strengthen the principle of universal representation."

With a less-than-impressive technique and with the tank almost empty, he slumped over as he crossed almost the line Sunday in 8 minutes 39.66 seconds — nearly 1.40 minutes behind the race winner.

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