First-ever Beach Sprints to make a splash

Commonwealth rowing
The Namibian Canoe and Rowing Federation (NCRF) will for the first time in its history, host the Common Wealth Rowing Beach Sprints Championships from 2 to 4 December in Walvis Bay.
Nikanor Nangolo
The Namibian Canoe and Rowing Federation (NCRF), an affiliate of the Namibian Sports Commission and the Namibia National Olympic Committee in conjunction with the Commonwealth Rowing Association (CRA), hosts Namibia's first CRA Beach Sprint Championships from 2 to 4 December at Independence Beach in Walvis Bay.

Competing at a Commonwealth Event is a truly unique opportunity for both rowers and coaches wishing to represent their nation at the highest possible level.

According to NCRF's general secretary Theo Tjiueza, the federation’s main objective is to promote the sport of canoeing and rowing in Namibia and to expose local athletes to the international world of the sport.

“The aim for hosting the championships is to bring Commonwealth rowing events to Africa. The other reason is to leave a legacy that will bring coastal rowing equipment, event hosting, management expertise, sport and athlete development from training camps as well as coaching and umpiring education before the actual event. We also hope to identify a strong Namibian team for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.”

Tjiueza said that the event will likely attract competitors from all over the Commonwealth. “

The CRA has 38 member nations and territories. As a result, spectators will be exposed to world-class rowing in Namibia and we will also see some top rowing athletes including our own Olympian Maike Diekmann in action. “On 1 December, a day before the event, the sport of rowing will be introduced to residents and spectators at the beach, allowing them to mingle with international athletes.”

World Rowing (WR) and Olympic Solidarity will be supporting a Level 1 World Rowing Coastal Coaching Development Course and Coastal Race Module course on the days before the event, from 27 November to 1 December. “There will be a National Technical Official education/training opportunity running in the days preceding the event. The World Rowing Federation will also be donating equipment worth around N$800 000, which will be used throughout the event and subsequently become our property.”

The winners will be presented with gold, silver and bronze medals. “Participants will also receive unique Namibian souvenirs to remember the country. All Commonwealth countries practising rowing and in good standing are invited. Twelve countries showed their willingness to participate, hence we are expecting 120 participants including officials and athletes,” said Tjiueza.

He urged those interested in attending the event to come in numbers to support the athletes and the sport. “We would especially like to see children from Walvis Bay at this event and thereafter hopefully see them join the Walvis Bay Rowing Club which has a programme that trains and educates adults and children about the sport.”

Tjiueza added that the NCRF is planning a Beach Sprint for mid-2023 in July or August with landlocked neighbouring countries in the Southern African Development Community. The NCRF is a member of the International Canoe Federation (ICF). It is also a continental affiliate of the Confederation of Africa Canoeing (CAC), the Commonwealth Rowing Association (CRA), the Africa Rowing Federation (FASA), and the World Rowing Federation (WRF).