Titanic battle set for Buffalo Regatta

UFH and WSU clubs preparing for Saturday’s rowing clash

THE BATTLE IS ON: The University of Fort Hare rowing team competes in the Boat Race in Port Alfred in September 2019. Picture: BRUCE VIAENE

The tension is on as rowing teams from all over the country gather for the RMB Buffalo Regatta, which begins on Thursday and runs until Saturday.

The regatta sees University of Fort Hare Rowing Club (UFHRC) and Walter Sisulu University Rowing Club (WSURC) meet up to battle it out for the honour of the best Buffalo City university rowing club.

WSURC took the honours in both the men’s and women’s races at Intervarsity in August, while UFHRC took gold in both the men’s and women’s races at the Universities Boat Race in Port Alfred in September 2019.

At the East London Universities Boat Race in October, WSURC won the wo m e n ’s race and UFHRC the men’s.

Currently, the developing clubs in this highly competitive sport find themselves at level pegging.

“Our students love the sport and their determination has helped them overcome great obstacles to participate,” WSU sport head Bongo Nontshinga said.

The athletes are busy comparing the speeds of the crews and coaches are checking fitness and making the final selections to get the fastest times on the water.

The sport requires finesse, fitness, strength in equal measures and is not for the fainthearted.

UFH sport department’s Timothy Leeuw said his team were extremely committed and eager to succeed.

The teams will compete in the single scull, a very difficult discipline with one rower, two blades and a very narrow boat.

Also up will be the double (two rowers, each with two blades in a narrow boat), quads (four rowers each with two blades and a fairly narrow boat) and the prestigious eights (one rower each with one blade in a less narrow boat).

With universities fully backing their rowing teams and SA getting rowers on Olympic podiums, it is not unrealistic to expect that perhaps our next Olympic rowing medal will come from these iconic struggle universities.

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