Rowing for Champions

From December 1 to 3, at the Water Sports Training Base in Thousand-islet Lake of Hangzhou, the First National Rowing Open Championships was in full flow. Hundreds of contestants, among them professional athletes from the navy, national rowing teams and sport schools across 25 provinces in China, paddled vigorously amid stormy cheers from the sides of the bank, all competing for the title of champion.

The national rowing championships in late autumn, is the last annual rowing competition of the year. As 2019 is a crucial year for qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, the Chinese Rowing Association has gathered around 300 professional rowing athletes both male and female, to do intensive training since October 15.

There are a wide range of competition courses, including 2-kilometer rowing, 1-kilometer rowing, gender mixed rowing and championship challenge rowing. Chen Chunxin, the vice president of the Chinese Rowing Association has said that the completion in Thousand-Islet Lake is one step closer to selecting professional rowing athletes to participate in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. This is the first nationwide open match for selecting rowing players of the highest level to compete for the country in the coming Olympic Games.

Moreover, the competition, for the first time, breaks the tradition that only professional athletes are permitted since there are two groups, one for professionals and another for amateurs.