The strategic alliance, complementing that of the existing alliance between the World Rowing Federation (FISA) and WWF International, will help to promote clean water across the Asian continent.

“This is a combination of different resources,” said Wang Shi, ARF President and also Chairman of China Vanke Co Ltd in the Shanghai Daily.  “Asian countries like Japan and Singapore have been doing well in water environmental protection. ARF can now provide an effective platform for communication and we can use WWF’s strength to help China and other Asian countries to learn from these pioneering countries.”

The Asian Rowing Federation is the continental confederation for the sport of rowing in Asia. It has 35 member national federations and conducts several events each year including the three Asian Rowing Cups, Asian Rowing Championships and Asian Rowing Indoor Championships.

According to Wang, the alliance means that environmental protections, in line with World Rowing’s Environmental Sustainability and Policy Guidelines, will be put into place at ARF events. As the sport of rowing continues to grow in Asia, WWF will be involved in the construction of new rowing sites to ensure proper environmental regulations are followed. It will also work to monitor water quality and collect data for future analysis in the field of environmentally-sustainable sports activities.

“The partnership between ARF and WWF China demonstrates a continued and deepening support for the rowing community from WWF worldwide. Working on the international level, the continental level and the national level, we can achieve even greater results. We applaud ARF and WWF China for taking the initiative to promote clean water,” says FISA President Jean-Christophe Rolland.

“China’s market is more than ready for rowing, an environmentally-friendly sport that also emphasises team spirit, dedication and focus. Top Chinese universities, such as Tsinghua and Beijing already stage rowing contests similar to the famous Oxford-Cambridge race,” Wang says.

Wang began rowing nine years ago as a visiting scholar at Cambridge University (Great Britain). He now runs a rowing programme for Chinese entrepreneurs at Cambridge University and he hopes to promote the sport of rowing both at home, in China and abroad. Wang was elected as Asian Rowing Federation President in 2014 for a four year term.

The partnership between ARF and WWF China follows the extension of the partnership between World Rowing and WWF International, which was signed in October of 2014. The unprecedented five-year extension aims to point both organisations to an action-oriented project. The primary goal will be to create the capacity to train future generations of fresh water managers, while also contributing to an important conservation project.

Content thanks to Ken Lee