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Darren Bruce Balmforth
b. 16 October 1972
It can be said that the face of Tasmanian rowing changed when the Tasmanian Institute of Sport appointed Tim McLaren as its first head rowing coach. He saw a future for the state in the lightweight divisions, and since then Tasmanian rowers have dominated the national scene and also made their mark at an international level.
One of those is Darren Balmforth. A member of the Lindisfarne Rowing Club, he started rowing as a coxswain while at Rose Bay High School, but soon grew so much his career as a cox was shortlived.
Darren developed into a talented young oarsman, holding a TIS scholarship from 1993 to 2003 where he was influenced by legendary coach, the late Sam Le Compte.
He was named TIS Athlete of the Year in 1999 and again in 2000. Darren's rowing record is outstanding. At the national level, he won 12 gold medals in events including the single sculls, the lightweight pairs and fours, and the quad fours. Four of those golds were awarded at the prestigious Penrith Cup national regatta.
On the international stage, Darren was one of Australia's best performers. In 1997, he won two gold medals in the lightweight eights at the World Cup and the World Championships.
The following year he won two silver and one bronze medal at the same titles. In 1999 he took home two golds and one silver at the Commonwealth and World titles.
Darren also shone at the Olympic Games, acting as a reserve in Atlanta in 1996 before winning a silver medal at the 2000 Sydney Games in the lightweight fours.
He went on to coach rowing at the TIS and later the Australian Institute of Sport, achieving world class results.
Darren is a respected member of the Tasmanian and Australian rowing community. His achievements and courage as both an athlete and a coach make him a worthy addition to the Tasmanian Sporting Hall of Fame.