First ever VIII rowing boat in Sri Lanka launched at Bolgoda Lake Rowing Club

Thursday, 4 April 2013 00:20 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The Bolgoda Lake Rowing Club has launched the country’s first octaple rowing boat heralding a major step in the club’s short five year history.

Situated on the picturesque Bolgoda Lake in Moratuwa, the club boasts an internationally accepted two kilometer rowing course and plans to host regular four to six lane regattas in the near future. The first ever Association of School Rowing in Asia Regatta was hosted by the club recently and has now become a popular regional schools regatta.

The club has also been instrumental in the recent past for popularising the sport of rowing outside of Colombo, where most of the infrastructure for sport had been concentrated before

BLRC President Sithira Wickramasekara had been instrumental in getting down the first ever Octaple rowing boat, as for over a century the Sri Lankan rowing fraternity had access only to the small boats and the Fours/Quads. For Sri Lankan oarsmen/women, being able to row in an octaple gives them much needed exposure to international standard boats.

Wickramasekara said: “It was one of my dreams as President, to get down an octaple rowing boat. We must give our sportsmen/women only the best if we want them to improve in the sport. My next dream is to start a long distance 10-12 km, octaple boat race which will be akin to the Oxford-Cambridge race, on the Bolgoda Lake.”

The Boat is to be named after veteran oarsmen and Amateur Rowing Association of Sri Lanka President Rohan Fernando. Former Sri Lankan rowing captain and BLRC Vice President Chanaka Talpahewa, who incidentally has the distinction of rowing for the first VIII for his college at Cambridge University, said: “Naming a boat is a somewhat of a difficult task. But him having being involved in the sport for decades and contributing to the development of rowing he certainly had to be recognized for his services. We should not forget that as the President of the National Association he was also able to secure a plot of land by the Diyawanna Lake to establish the rowing headquarters in the country. That is a historic step and we should recognize it in an equally historical manner. The naming of the rowing boat is a gesture on the part of the BLRC to recognize this as well.”

Commenting on the impact that the boat would have on the standard of rowing, former St. Thomas’ College captain and current ASRA General Secretary and BLRC Vice President Lasantha Welikala said: “The launching of the octaple could not have come at a better moment. Right now the standard of rowing in the country has come to a certain level and we need a boost to take it to the next level; this boat will give us that impetus. Also it will broaden the horizons of the young oarsmen/women and will certainly improve their technical skills.”