Bolgoda rowing at bigger scale this year

Second biggest after the nationals
By Naushad Amit

University of Moratuwa for the eighth year running will stage the Bolgoda Regatta 2011 at the picturesque Bolgoda Lake in Moratuwa on September 2, 3 and 4. The gala regatta event second only to the Nationals is the pioneering multi-lane rowing event in Sri Lanka to meet the international standards. In addition Bolgoda is Sri Lankas only location with the ability to hold a 2000m race which adds up to the international demands.

Thilina Sellahewa

The Bolgoda Regatta is an event initialized in 2003 inspired after the then Chancellor of University of Moratuwa, Dr. Ray Wijewardena who was a brilliant national oarsman during his heydays.
Annually the mega event is organised by the energetic rowing crew of University of Moratuwa (UoM) who prefers to be called as the ‘Mora Rowing Crew’. A member of the organizing committee, Thiran Sellahewa who is also an oarsman at the campus detailed on how the event is important for the institution.

Until 2003, rowing in Sri Lanka was conducted as a two-lane event spanning a distance of 100 meters. In 2005, during the third year, the organizers improved the event to a four-lane race. The possibility map up a direct 2000 meters course has given Bolgoda the extra advantage whereas compared to Beira Lake in Colombo. These options which were proven success in 2005 gave Bolgoda the opportunity of hosting the massive South Asian Games in 2007. The Mora Rowing Crew who knew better about the location than the rest were given the opportunity to contribute as technical facilitators during that event.
Last year the organizers moved a step further by increasing the participation to 62 races in 22 different categories with 13 teams. The efforts of the Mora Rowing Crew during the successive years only promoted the location which was identified as the ideal course to conduct the Rowing Nationals since 2009.

This year 15 crews will participate at the 8th Bolgoda Regatta 2011 where Sri Lanka Army will make their debut in rowing. The event will see more than 200 oarsmen and oarswomen take part at nearly 70 events, which is an increase from last year.

Events in scull, double scull and pair boats have been categorized under different age groups for men, women, boys and girls. The events will be held for the age groups of Under-13, 16, 19, 23 and open events for men, women and mixed. In addition the organizers have included a master’s event this year where oarsmen of yesteryear could display their skills.

Unlike at other events the Bolgoda Regatta is being conducted without the fours events. However Thilana Sellahewa revealed that they have made plans to include a quad sculls event for the first time.
The event presently is mainly conducted in memory of the founder and the teams will vie for a trophy named after him. During the past seven years the main award was given away as Dr. Ray Wijewardena Challenge Trophy but from this year the organizers have done a slight change on the title.
“This year will be the first event conducted after Dr. Wijewardena’s death. The main award will be renamed as Dr. Ray Wijewardena Memorial Trophy,” he revealed.

Bolgoda Regatta will be held on September 2 from 3.00 p.m. onwards and on the remaining two days from 8.00 a.m. onwards at Ranmal Holiday Resort, in Panadura. Participating teams: University of Moratuwa, University of Colombo, Colombo Rowing Club, Bolgoda Lake Rowing Club, Sri Lanka Air Force, Sri Lanka Navy, Sri Lanka Army, Royal College Colombo, S. Thomas’ College, Mt. Lavinia, Ananda College Colombo, Asian International School, Prince of Wales’ College Moratuwa, Musaeus College Colombo, Ladies’ College Colombo, Bishop’s College Colombo.

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