The sun is rising on Asian rowing
Asia is vast. This single continent contains over a quarter of the world’s fresh water and is home to some 4.5 billion people. In terms of rowing potential, Asia is as rich as it comes. So what is going on in Asian rowing and what can the world expect in the future?
While boat racing is an ancient part of many Asian societies – Chinese dragon boats being one familiar example – the modern sport of rowing is a relative newcomer and it is only in recent decades that the sport has exploded in popularity across the region.
History and Geography
Founded in 1982, the Asian Rowing Federation comprises 36 national rowing associations at latest count. While that is a little more than a quarter of World Rowing’s 150 global members, it accounts for roughly three quarters of Asia’s 48 countries. Yet the actual representation is closer to 80 per cent since Russia and Turkey, although substantially in Asia, compete as European rowing nations.
Asian Rowing’s 36 national federations are organised into five regions:
· Central Asia: Kazakhstan (KAZ), Kyrgyzstan (KGZ), Turkmenistan (TKM), Uzbekistan (UZB)
· East Asia: China (CHN), Chinese Taipei (TPE), Hong Kong (HKG), Japan (JAP), Macau (MAC), Mongolia (MGL), North Korea (PRK), South Korea (KOR)
· South Asia: Afghanistan (AFG), Bangladesh (BAN), India (IND), Maldives (MDV), Nepal (NEP), Pakistan (PAK), Sri Lanka (SRI)
· Southeast Asia: Cambodia (CAM), Indonesia (INA), Malaysia (MAS), Myanmar (MYA), Philippines (PHI), Singapore (SGP), Thailand (THA), Vietnam (VIE)
· West Asia: Bahrain (BRN), Iran (IRI), Iraq (IRQ), Kuwait (KUW), Lebanon (LBN), Palestine (PLE), Qatar (QAT), Saudi Arabia (KSA), United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Events for performance and development
Over and above an ever-increasing number of domestic and international events within various nations across the region, Asia has one of the most developed calendars of continentally sanctioned regattas. There are a number of regular events in the Asian Rowing year besides the addition of multi-sport games every few years. These are the events rowing fans can expect for 2018:
· 26-29 Apr, 2018 Asian Rowing Cup I (Singapore)
· 22-23 Jun, 2018 Asian Rowing Masters Championships (Tehran, IRA)
· 26-30 Jun, 2018 Asian Rowing Junior Championships & Asian Rowing Cup II (Chungju, KOR)
· 19-24 Aug, 2018 2018 Asian Games (Palembang, INA)
· 23-25 Nov, 2018 Asian Rowing Coastal Championships (Hongkong, CHN)
· To be determined Asian Rowing Indoor Championships
An extensive series of camps, workshops and meetings across the continent help to ensure that everyone within the sport from para-rowing and high performance to juniors, coastal rowers, umpires, coaches and event organisers at all levels are plugged into the powerful and ever-expanding network of rowers throughout Asia.
At its most fundamental level, the Asian Rowing Federation operates as a continental version of the World Rowing Federation (FISA). With each new year, the sport grows. What rowing is becoming in Asia is a reflection both of the sport itself and the determination of a continent raising its head on rowing’s international stage with the confidence of a bright future ahead.
For a continent that almost 60 per cent of the people on earth call home, talking about ‘limitless potential’ isn’t far from the truth. In a world where the outlook for rowing in all regions looks better than ever, the nations of Asia will surely grow in representation.