African Rowing Championships extend medal spread
In what can be considered as a coup for rowing in Africa, the 10th African Rowing Championships has seen a record medal spread.
Held in Algeria's coastal town of Tipaza, the regatta was raced over three days. On the final day Algeria took the lead by winning a total of six gold medals. Tunisia, who finished first on the medals table in 2013, ended in second place with five gold medals, Egypt took two golds and Zimbabwe won one gold.
Medals also went to Angola, Uganda, Nigeria and Zambia. For these four countries it was the first time that they had won medals at the African Championships. Two silver medals going to Angola was particularly impressive. Last year just three nations won medals - Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt.
Algeria's rowing president, Bachir Djelouat commented, “we are very happy with this result, it will help us to move forward."
Algerian Rowing supplied all of the boats for the 18 African nations that competed.
FISA President, Jean-Christophe Rolland attended the regatta and also met with the Algerian Olympic Committee as well as meeting the rowers. Rolland commented, “development is a priority for FISA and Africa is a key part of that priority."
A development camp took place for ten days before the championships. According to their level of development, rowers were split into three categories: newcomers, beginners and advance. Most of them participated in the African Championships junior events giving them regatta experience.
The camp was funded by Olympic Solidarity and run by five FISA coaches with a record 54 participants from 19 countries attending. The Boukerdan dam was utilised for the camp. The lake boasted 5km of water and is the home of the Algerian national team training centre. The facility also has a new six-laned regatta course.
The African Rowing Championships have been going since 2003 and for 2015 the regatta will return to Tunis, Tunisia.