Rowing is one of the most ancient sports on the plane. It is believed that the first rowing race was held by ancient Egyptians. Modern academic rowing appeared thanks to competitions being held between students of Oxford and Cambridge universities in XIX century. In Ukraine, however, this sport is not very active, comparing to other countries, though there is certain progress. Thus, last year Ukrainian team won gold in rowing at the Olympic Games.

To invite more attention of Ukrainians to this cultured sport, the Rowing Federation of Ukraine (FAGU) has organized this year a special race - the first international rowing regatta "FAGU president's cup". ForUm has visited the event.

The competition started with a festive parade of participants on Trukhanov Island. The competitors include teams from five countries: Russia, Moldova, Belarus, Serbia and Ukraine. Our country is represented by teams from Vynnytsia, Dnipropetrovks, Zaporizhya, Kyiv, Mykolaiv, Odesa, Kharkiv and Cherkassy regions, autonomous republic of Crimea and the city of Kyiv.

Chief of the government staff Oleksandr Kushnyrenko cngratulated the sportsmen on this outstanding event and wished luck on behalf of Premier Mykola Azarov. The first deputy chairman of the State service for youth and sport of Ukraine Serhiy Glushenko read the speech of Ravil Safiullin, and executive director of the National Olympic Committee of Ukraine Anatoly Domashenko conveyed good wishes from Serhiy Bubka.

FAGU president Serhiy Rybak informed that the tournament being held today for the first time in Ukraine will become annual and will be held not only in Ukraine.

"This race is a social project to draw attention of parents and children to this natural and spectacular sport."

There are several age categories of sportsmen participating in the race: boys and girls under 13 and 15, juniors under 17, men and women over 19 and sport veterans over 27. Apart from the Cup, the winners will get a bonus present - an Italian rowing boat.

All sportsmen are excited. Serhiy Gumennyi from Vynnytsya region won bronze in rowing at Universiade in Kazan last month, and gold at World Student Championship last year. He seems really excited about today's race.  

"I've been doing this sport since 2001, and participating in competitions since 2007. I can tell you this is the first tournament being held at decent level: there is audience, media covering, snack bars... It has never been like this before, coaches and participants are usually the only people to see the event. Now I see a real audience and it lifts up my fighting spirit."

Serhiy also speaks about his German boat, he got from local sponsors. According to him, not every sportsman is that lucky - coaches usually go FAGU first and then distribute boats as they see fit. At the same time, the boat is the key to victory. Some high class boats enable rowers to save up to 50 seconds during the race.

Preparation to the race is also a costly affair. Serhiy's coach, for example, had to borrow 33 thousand hryvnias for the team of four rowers. Transportation of boats is the most expensive process. Thus, transportation of one boat from Vynnytsya region to Kyiv and back costs five thousand hryvnias. 

This tournament includes 500m races, and participants gain points per every race. Eight points bring the victory.

Here the favorites come - teams from the Kyiv city and Mykolaiv region.

Unfortunately, the Kyiv team has had a breakdown, but stoutly continues rowing.

The audience is excited, some of the supporters are running straight to the water to root for a favorite team.

Water lilies are not an obstacle...

And finally on the beach...

The team from Mykolaiv region is announced the absolute winner with eight points gained and wins the "FAGU president's cup". In audience's opinion, the result was expected, considering the serious school of the team and unfortunate accident of its main rivals from Kyiv.

Happy winners go home with the golden cup and new boat. As for the others, well, hard training may bring the victory next year.

Anastasia Pika, photos by Maxim Trebukhov


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