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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Andaman and Nicobar Island rowers with ‘sea’ of experience

Pune, 26 February : Rowers from Andaman and Nicobar Islands, comprising eight men and women each, tested the waters at the Khadakwasla lake today, where the Indian National Rowing Championship is scheduled to start on Friday. The team would, on a given day, look like any other team, full of confidence. Dig deeper and you will find that it comes in many colours and shades.
Hit by tsunami: The deadly tsunami in 2004 destroyed all their boats and other equipment and getting new ones proved a task unfulfilled. “The girls and boys, who are a part of the Sports Authority of India (SAI) coaching scheme, are still waiting for new boats,” said D Rama Rao, coach and manager of the team. Natural rowers
: “This time, most of the rowers in the women’s team are school and college students,” Rao said. “SAI took them under their wing to hone their skills.” And he insists it’s not difficult to carve out a professional rower out of them because people in his state are natural rowers. “The Nicobaris use a boat called Ohodi for traveling between the islands daily. It is very similar to these scull boats that are used in competitive rowing,” Rao adds. The other advantage rowers from island have, says Rao, is their experience of rowing in sea.

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