CHENNAI: There is following of rowing in Chennai. Before the lockdown, rowers were seen regularly at Madras Boat Club. But the lockdown changed it. With the situation unlikely to improve soon, rowers are busy online, not only in Chennai but across the country. Like swimmers, the rowers too are not back in training.
“Ever since we were asked to stop rowing activities in March, the sport has come to a halt. Webinar and online workshops keep rowers occupied,’’ said Balaji Maradapa, Rowing Federation of India (RFI) vice-president and executive committee member of Tamil Nadu Amateur Rowing Association.
“Equipment are lying idle at Sri Ramachandra Water Sports Centre in Porur and Boat Club. Kodaikanal Boat Club, the only high altitude training centre in the country, was sealed by municipal authorities due to some lease issue a few months ago.
If regular activities do not start in a month or so, equipment and boats could be damaged.” Sailors have been given permission to resume training but not rowers. “We need to share equipment and at times, we can’t maintain social distancing. As the boats and oars have to be shared, it’s difficult to follow protocols. The shoes are fixed to the boats.
Considering the nature of the sport, it’s difficult to start training now.” Promising rowers have been suggested workout routines which they are supposed to follow at home. “Jayshree, Tulasi, Rohith and Tarun Reddy are some of the promising rowers in TN. All are in touch with coaches, doing endurance and cardio workouts at home,’’ said Balaji.
Coaches, support staff and workers attached to rowing facilities are having a tough time. Are there any events lined up once the lockdown is over? “The situation in Chennai is the same as in the other cities. After almost 16 years, we made a successful bid to host the Asian Championship in Bhopal this November. This would have given us a boost in terms of equipment, training and exposure to our rowers. There is no question of having any national event in the near future unless the government gives the go-ahead.”