KARACHI: Twenty-six young Pakistan athletes are set to compete in the South East Asia Rowing Federation (SEARF) Championship in Singapore on June 15.
The rowers will leave for the event on Saturday with the hopes of making a mark in the competition, which will conclude on June 22.
Earlier this year, Pakistan won 10 medals at the Association of School Rowing in Asia (ASRA) Championship 2014 in Dubai.
Pakistan Rowing Federation (PRF) official Abdul Rahim Babai said that this championship is a good learning opportunity for the local talent.
“Our young rowers are very talented and we are hoping they’ll perform well in Singapore,” Babai told The Express Tribune. “It’s going to be a tough competition for them as five other countries are fielding their athletes as well.”
Hosts Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Indonesia have also confirmed their participation in the championship.
However, Pakistan will miss out on competing against India.
“This time around, India isn’t sending their rowers. But competition from Sri Lanka can be threatening,” said Babai.
Most of the local rowers are coming from two schools; the Center of Advanced Studies (CAS) and the Karachi Grammar School.
Babai said that only two out of 22 schools were able to spare their rowers due to the ongoing exams.
He added that the team consists of junior rowers, who have been training at the Karachi Boat Club (KBC) for three months in morning and evening sessions.
The team will also have five officials accompanying them on the trip.
“The results can be different for us this time, since all of our rowers are young. The senior team is not going due to their exams. However, we are pinning hopes on CAS’s Mina Arif and Muhammad Shayan for the single scull events.”
Apart from the main championship, KBC officials will also attend the SEARF meeting where they will decide on merging with ASRA.
“We have an important meeting in Singapore. The members of the two organisations will decide whether they should merge the two zones. It’s going to be an important development for the rowing competitions in the region,” concluded Babai.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 14th, 2014.
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