Vanuatu Rowing calls for interest

Vanuatu rowers Rio Rii and Luigi Teilemb. Photo: Vanuatu Rowing Association

Vanuatu Rowing Association is calling on interested people who wants to be involved with rowing to contact coaches Jessica Richardson, Elaine Moli and Andrew Mackenzie on Monday to Friday afternoons from 4pm to 6pm or Saturday morning from 7am to 9am at the Port Vila Rowing Club.

In a statement sent by the association yesterday stated; “If you are interested in getting involved in rowing in Vanuatu or supporting the efforts of the Vanuatu Rowing Association please come down to the Port Vila Rowing Club, Tassiriki to talk through options with coaches Rowing is for everyone, for people of all ages, gender and ability.”

The invitation came following the successful finish of Vanuatu rowers Rio Rii and Luigi Teilemb with the support of their coach Andrew Mackenzie who made history for Vanuatu at the recent World Rowing Coastal Championships in Hong Kong.

The duo finished in 11th place in the world in the first A Final for Vanuatu at a World Rowing event.

With 32 crews contending in the Men’s Double, Rio and Luigi blitzed through the heat coming in first place on Friday to secure their place in the A Final on Sunday.

Vanuatu has competed in many World Rowing events over the years and this is the first time a crew has succeeded in securing a spot in the A Final.

Congratulations Rio and Luigi for making history for Vanuatu and proving the potential of success of Coastal Rowing for Vanuatu and the Pacific on the World Stage.

By the time the final rolled around the weather had turned and with the wind picking up mixed with the waves coming off the busy boat traffic the conditions were tough. With 16 crews lining up for the A Final together it was a fight to get out in front and find space to take the first turning point.

The idea of the coastal rowing event is to row over 6,000m in the Final taking a number of tight turns around buoys. In a wide rowing boat these turns prove difficult with some crews coming to a complete stop as they take the turn tight leaving a high risk for collisions.

Unfortunately this is what happened to Team Vanuatu coming around the first buoy in the final where they collided with two other crews forcing them to come to a complete stand still and losing their place at the front of the pack. The boys worked hard to get going again and tried valiantly to catch those in front but unfortunately weren’t able to make the top 10, placing eleventh coming over the finish line.

Coastal rowing is an exciting and adventurous version of the sport and unfortunately collisions are a part of the racing. The result has left the boys wanting more and keen to race again, aiming higher once more, in the World Rowing Coastal Championships in Portugal in 2020.

Racing in Hong Kong was an experience like no other and certainly one training on the beautiful lagoon in Vanuatu could not compare with. Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong where the race was held is one of the busiest ports in the world and with skyscrapers lining the harbor side it was definitely an unforgettable experience.

The journey for coastal rowing in Vanuatu is just beginning and the Vanuatu Rowing Association is proud of Rio and Luigi and grateful to the expertise of coach, Andrew, in putting Vanuatu on the World Coastal Rowing Map and ensuring coastal rowing in Vanuatu is off to such a successful start.

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