The Sundaytimes Sri Lanka

Colombo Rowing Club emerge victorious

75th Madras-Colombo Regatta held in Chennai

The Colombo Rowing Club emerged victorious at the 75th annual Madras-Colombo Regatta conducted last weekend on the Adayar River in Chennai, India. Sri Lanka clinched the championship, which was the 75th regatta in a 114-year history of rowing between the Madras and Colombo Rowing clubs, by winning six out of the eight races in the men’s category. This feat included the trophy for the prestigious boat race as well as the Deepam Trophy awarded for the overall winners. However, in the ladies category the Colombo Rowing Club girls won only two sculling events while losing the pairs and fours events to the Madras ladies.

The men’s Single Scull A was won by Sajeev de Silva of CRC who beat Karn Rao of MBC. The Scull B was won by Shehan Muthugala of CRC who beat Hassan Khaleeli of MBC. The Double Scull A was won by Shehan Muthugala and Sajeev de Silva who overcame Lakshman Satish and Hassan Khaleeli while Suwin Karunaratne and Dhanushka Jayanetti beat Vinay Vennkatraman and Karn Rao to win the Double Scull B. However the Coxless Pair A was won by Indians Arvind Natarajan and Joshua. They beat the paring of Shehan Muthugala and Sajeev de Silva. The Coxless Pair B was won by Chamal Jayanetti and Zydhney Fazal who beat Sharan Sanjay and Niranjan Padmanabhan.

The Madras team claimed the B Coxed Four with Sharan Sanjay, Inan Diwan, Niranjan Padmanabhan, Darshan and Rohit Balaji teaming up to beat Colombo’s Ashan Pittiarachchi, Nilusha de Alwis, Siriwanth Kotalawala, Suneth Abeyratne and Binura Gamage. The Men’s A Coxed Four for the prestigious boat race trophy was won by the team consisting of of Manilka Guneratne, Sajeev de Silva, Shehan Muthugala, Pradeep Maddumabandara and Peter Christy who outplayed the Madras team which consisted Arvind Natarajan, Joshua, Sidarth Sunil, Janeshwar Raja and Anirudh Sanjeev.

In the ladies category the coxless pair was won by Aditi. S and Ashwathy Nair of Madras who beat Anisha Gunasekara and Anishka Gomez of CRC. Ishika de Silva won the Single Scull race beating Iha Diwan. The Sri Lankans went on to win the Double Scull as Ishika de Silva and Amani Tissera went on to beat Sankavi Puhazhendhi and Iha Diwan. The Coxed Four was won by Madras who featured Ditika, Roshini, Iha Diwan, Sankavi Puhazhendhi and Sahana who beat Colombo’s Amani Tissera, Anisha Gunasekara, Anishka Gomez, Shiyanka de Zylva and Shiloh Sumanthiran of CRC.

The Ladies Double Scull exhibition race which carried no points was won by Colombo’s Deshika Herath and Samaakhya Gajanayake. In the Masters Coxed Four was won by the Combined Colombo-Madras oarsmen featuring John de Niese, Ashwin Chesetty, Lushantha De The Colombo Rowing Club men’s and women’s teams in Chennai.Silva, Sriram and Pasan Ranaweera. They beat a combined crew of Mouli which had Maheel Gamage, Raghu Varadarajan, Dhanushka Jayanetti and RadhaKrishnan.The day’s racing was followed by a colourful prize distribution event where in addition to awarding the trophies to the winners, both clubs exchanged goodwill souvenirs underlining the strong friendship between the two rowing clubs across the Palk-strait.

The Sri Lankan contingent included over 33 members who represented the Colombo Rowing Club (CRC) in the Men’s and Women’s events who reached Chennai on July 18. The team from Colombo was later joined by the President of CRC, John de Niese, and several committee members and a few senior oarsmen involved with the historic Madras-Colombo regatta since the 1970’s.
“The association between the Madras Boat Club and the Colombo Rowing Club which developed over a century ago has weathered many ups and downs and has held solidly not to be swayed by petty political bickering on the current accusations against Sri Lanka by some politicians in Tamil-Nadu,” an official communiqué from CRC said.

As per tradition the Madras Boat Club who played host this year, invited the Deputy High Commissioner of Sri Lanka in Madras, Ambassador R.K.M.A. Rajakaruna to be the chief guest. Contrary to the recent incidents where official visitors from Sri Lanka were turned back from Tamil-Nadu against politically motivated protests, the large contingent of members from the CRC received a warm welcome from the time they set foot in Chennai. Sri Lankan parliamentarian T. Sumandiran, was a surprise visitor at the regatta to witness his daughter rowing for the CRC Club ladies team against the Madras Boat Club.

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