Georges Langa produced a personal best to come came 6th of 8 rowers in the final of the A-Grade Men’s Singles race in the Australian National Para Rowing Championships yesterday at the rowing venue built for the Sydney Olympics at Penrith, Sydney. Langa was competing against experienced para rowers who have had years of international experience at the Para Olympics, and Regattas around the world. For our young rower from Mele, even being in the finals, after two fiercely contested heats to make the last draw of 8 rowers, this is a win in every sense.

It’s a significant achievement for Langa as this Regatta is the first time he has rowed overseas, the first time he has rowed on an artificially constricted course – virtually a giant swimming pool, not the tropical waters of the Second Lagoon in Port Vila, the first time he has competed against experienced rowers who have access to professional rowing coaches and para rowing preparation programmes. It’s the first time in front of televisions and thousands of spectators! Rowing in a borrowed boat added another level of difficulty as did the foul weather!

Courtesy of weather systems linked to Cyclone Debbie, Day Four of the 2017 Aon Sydney International Rowing Regatta brought gloomy skies, cool conditions and water-logged boats, as the rain came over the Blue Mountains and settled in over the course. However, the weather did not dishearten the athletes, as they put on an incredible display of talent at the Sydney International Rowing Centre.

Langa will continue to race today and tomorrow in several other events – mixed doubles and quads with rowers from Australia and New Zealand as he is the first and only para rower from the Pacific. He will have one day to play tourist and see the sights of Sydney before returning home on Monday.

Raymond Nasse

Sports Editor

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