© Igor Meijer
a role model for
the 2008 Beijing olympic Games has
brought new momentum to the sport of
rowing in asia. this was clearly evident
at the olympic Qualification regatta in
Shanghai at the end of april. a record
66 crews, representing 24 National
Federations raced at the event, with
fierce competition for 17 qualifying
places. the East asian region again
proved the strongest, claiming 9 places,
but crews from Central asia, South asia,
South East asia and the Middle East will
be represented in Beijing also.
Of particular note was the increase in
participation from the Middle East following
the Doha Asian Games and FISA’s subsequent
development initiatives in the region. The
qualification of a male and a female single
sculler from Iran was a major highlight. Iraq
will also be represented in the men’s double
after gaining a tripartite place.
Host nation China has long been the dominant
rowing power in the region. The Chinese
Rowing Federation is able to draw upon a
huge pool of athletes, under professional
training, in almost every major province. This
depth of talent can be seen at the National
Games, held every quadrennial in the year
following the Olympics. The challenge has
been to bring together the best of this talent,
and to provide them with the necessary inter
national experience and technical expertise
to excel on the world stage. With the
Olympic Games taking place on home soil,
considerable resources have been applied to
achieving this goal. Under the leadership of
Asian Rowing Federation President Mr. Wei Di,
with the technical expertise of coach Igor
Grinko and an experienced team of Chinese
coaches, the results so far have been clear
to see. China has qualified 11 boats for the
Games and has already made a major impact
on the medal distribution at the 2008 Rowing
World Cup. Much is expected in Beijing.
It should not be forgotten however that
China also contributes significantly to the
overall development of rowing in the region.
With the support of the Asian Rowing
Federation, China is a willing and frequent
host of major events and training camps.
Chinese boat builders also provide support
and lowcost boat material to Asian teams.
Chinese coaches work in various parts of the
region, and top Chinese athletes serve as
role models for Asian rowing success. Asian
rowers must take up the challenge!