Rowing included in SEA Games
The sport of rowing has been included in the 2015 Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) in Singapore.
The chairman of the SEA Games Federation executive committee, Tan Eng Liang, announced that rowing - along with boxing, equestrian and volleyball - had been added to the 30 sports that were approved for the programme last year following the 2013 SEA Games in Myanmar.
FISA Executive Director Matt Smith was delighted to hear the news, "This is great news especially as rowing is growing rapidly throughout Asia. This is a great legacy for Singapore following the very successful 2010 Youth Olympic Games rowing event held on Marina Reservoir."
Rowing was included in the 2013 Myanmar SEA Games programme and one of the success stories was Saiyidah Aisyah Mohamed Rafa'ee of Singapore. Aisyah, 25, won the lightweight women's single sculls and, as the sole representative for her country in rowing, won the first gold medal for Singapore at the SEA Games since 1997. Aisyah garnered a lot of support following her gold medal win and it helped put rowing into the spotlight in Singapore.
The impact of Aisyah's gold medal was evident in Singapore when this year's open trials attracted the largest number of participants in a number of years, including Aisyah's younger brother, Syahir Ezekiel. He has rowed in the past, but inspired by his sister's success, Ezekiel decided to re-join the national programme.
Rowing at the 2015 SEA Games will be held at Marina Bay, which means distances of 500m and 1000m will be raced.
Missing out on inclusion in the games was karate, weightlifting and wrestling, while floorball and petanque were chosen.
The SEA Games is a biennial event open to the 11 countries that make up Southeast Asia. It attracts about 7000 athletes. The 2015 SEA Games will be held in June and will include 36 Olympic and non-Olympic sports.