Olympic Champions kick off rowing in Kafue
The Kafue River & Rowing Centre in Zambia has taken another step forward. Kim Brennan, 2016 Olympic Champion in the women’s single sculls and Lawrence Ndlovu, 2012 Olympic Champion in the lightweight men’s four, brought the first rowing machines to two schools in Kafue, Zambia last week.
The two schools are located near the site of the Kafue River & Rowing Centre and will be the first schools introduced to the sport when rowing commences.
Brennan, from Australia and Ndlovu from South Africa, travelled with representatives of World Wide Fund for Nature, WWF Zambia as well as Brennan’s new husband, Scott, a 2008 Olympic Champion. After setting up the ergometers, the three Olympic Champions gave the first rowing introduction to the local students. “It was so incredible to see the fun the kids had seeing a rowing machine for the first time,” says Brennan. “I can only imagine how much joy rowing in a boat will bring.”
The schools have already been involved with the planning of the Kafue River & Rowing Centre, as rowing will become part of their physical education programmes when the Centre is up and running.
Brennan is an ambassador for the project and added the trip to Kafue as a part of her honeymoon. Brennan cited some of the difficulties that the region faces, saying “the visit was incredibly worthwhile. The Kafue really is the lifeblood of the region. It provides electricity, drinking water, sustains agriculture, fishing and mining. Managing competing demands on the limited resource is going to be key to the future of the people of Zambia. There are already water shortages, cholera and electricity blackouts. Children walk long distances every day to collect drinking water.”
The Centre, which is a World Rowing and WWF initiative, will act as an important meeting place where stakeholders can come together to research and discuss the competing demands of the region and find solutions to properly manage the vital resource, the Kafue River. At the same time, students and community members will be able to learn rowing.
“More than anything I learned that clean water is about the people. It is about learning and stewardship. Rowing is a great fit in the partnership- it teaches joy, teamwork and pride in water,” Brennan says.
The recent purchase of the land for the Centre marks a significant step forward for the project. Along with the purchase of the land, architectural designs are being produced for this multi-purpose Centre. Construction is planned for spring 2017, after the rainy season. Following the first lessons on the ergometer, rowing is scheduled to get up and running shortly, with the rowing educational component being overseen by Community Rowing Inc. (CRI) in Boston, USA.
Fundraising is on-going for the project. To donate and to learn more, visit the Kafue River & Rowing Centre page at:
Because to help the Kafue is to help the world