“The weather has been brilliant, and the venue – just splendid,” exclaimed Pawan Kumar, father of P. Rishabh, a sub-junior rower who represents Karnataka.
The Trishna Club at the Ulsoor Lake — the venue for the 16th Sub-Junior and 17th Challenger Sprint National Rowing Championship — witnessed fun, frolic and serious sport.
Loud cheers occasionally punctured the otherwise peaceful environs of the lake. Amidst all the action, noise and the intervening calm, M.V. Sriram, secretary-general, Rowing Federation of India, told The Hindu that rowing as a sport is growing by leaps and bounds. “The competition is getting better and tougher with each passing year, thanks to better training and increasing awareness. India has been doing tremendously well in international competitions.”
Wanted: state support
However, Mr. Sriram went on to voice his concern that since the sport needed reasonably clean and long stretches of uninterrupted water for practice, some assistance from the government would help.
G. Somasekharappa, secretary, Karnataka Amateur Rowing Association (KARA), was all smiles. “We have accommodated an under-13 category this year in order to widen the base of young participants. The events have also been reduced to 500 metres, from the standard two km, in order to make it spectator-friendly.”
He added he was thrilled to see Karnataka doing well in the championship.
With around 260 competitors from 21 States, there is no dearth of interest.
Balaji Maradappa, treasurer of Rowing Federation of India (RFI), commented on the role of coaches. “The coaching is top-class; most of them are winners in national and international events, and pass on their valuable experience to these youngsters.” Asked about the measures that need to be taken to popularise the sport of rowing, all stakeholders felt it needs better recognition and more funds apart from easier access to venues, equipment and training.