250 learners from various schools and clubs country-wide have played in the eighth edition of the South African national indoor rowing championships in Polokwane, Limpopo.

Rowing South Africa says the indoor rowing development programme is aimed at introducing rowing to youth from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Participants in the South African national indoor rowing championship were scaled down from 500 to 250 due to COVID-19 protocols.

Indoor rowing is a development programme to introduce people to water rowing. Rowing takes place inside water where participants use sticks to move the boat. Participants have described the sport as one of the best as they are able to showcase their fitness level.

“I’m feeling better to be in rowing I feel good I’m so happy… It’s such a great opportunity to come here, from the Eastern Cape, and this is my first year and for me is so special because I get to show my fitness and my talent in the sport,” says one participant.

Rowing South Africa coordinator, Virginia Mabasa says identified players from the indoor rowing championship will be introduced to water rowing.

“We will have development camps which are set to start the last week of September the aim is to progress these rowers to water rowing. As much as we started this development programme indoors, we then create this opportunity for them to be on the water and this for us to test their ability, their skills. Every province will have their camp in their own province and the aim, of course, is to select them to be part of the development squad.”

Chief Director for sports development in the Limpopo Department of Sports, Veronica Mokgonyane says they will expand rowing to all the districts to ensure that it is included in the province’s sporting codes.

“We are aiming to develop this sporting code so that it can feature in all the five districts of the province. We need to expand more so that rowing is an Olympic sport and rowing is one sport code that is able to quickly develop. Our champions are able to develop the skills that our young people have,” saysMokgonyane.

Seven provinces were represented in the indoor rowing national championship held at Ngoako Ramathlodi Centre in Seshego.

Rowing South Africa says Gauteng and the Western Cape were not represented because they are far ahead in the development of the sport.