“It’s just so much fun!”
“I love being out on the water!”
“Everyone down here at the Rowing Club is so friendly!”
“I love learning a new sport!”
“I like getting fit!”
The chorus of eager, shouted answers from Central School’s team of young rowers to the simple question: “Do you like the Schools Rowing Program?” pretty well sums up why the Port Vila Rowing Club’s active membership is rapidly expanding.
Fun, fitness, new friends, great mentors, new skills and improving important health outcomes like weight, aerobic fitness and strength are pretty good reasons for becoming involved with rowing.
If you then throw in a fiercely contested rowing competition – a regatta – between several of Vila’s Secondary Schools – then you really have the ingredients for a great sporting experience.
Raine Rii, Dougney Fred, Jason John, Davis Alick and Jonal Abel are Grade 9 students at Central. They come down to the Rowing Club three afternoons a week right after school finishes, work out lightly in the gym, then get out on the water in single and double sculls (rowing boats). Their skills are really improving.
Rio Rii, the Club’s Shed Manager, will soon be arranging visits to schools around Port Vila to meet the Principals and Physical Education teachers to discuss the 2017 Schools Rowing Program which culminates in the inter school Rowing Regatta.
Rio, who has himself represented Vanuatu in Europe, Asia, New Zealand and Australia, will be accompanied by Luigi Teilemb, who successfully represented Vanuatu in the Olympic Games in Brazil
and Georges Langa, a para rower.
They will meet with interested staff and students to talk about a sport that is both fun and inclusive.
All three leave on Saturday 24th March to compete in the Australian National Championships in Sydney.
On their return in early April, they will focus on promoting and organising the Schools Program.
The Club has qualified Ni-Vanuatu coaches.
The Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) came to Vanuatu to deliver the coaching training.
These young coaches have been giving the Central Schools group sessions on the water and in the gym, ensuring there is a safe, inclusive and healthy environment – after all this is where the Olympic rowers of the future will come.
“They always make us feel so welcome and sometimes Luigi Teilemb gives us some tips! I tell my Mum I’m being coached by an Olympian!”