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Wuhan to host international rowing in July

By Zhang Chunyan and Susanna Ma in London | China Daily | Updated: 2013-05-22 05:38

The International Universities Rowing Regatta will debut in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, in July.

The competitors will come from 12 top universities, including Oxford, Cambridge, Yale, Tsinghua and Xi'an Jiao Tong.

The regatta will run from July 22-26 on East Lake, a well-known scenic area in Wuhan. Teams will compete in eight single-oared boats.

"The East Lake is China's largest inner-city lake, which perfectly meets all the requirements for a rowing event. We want to make the race a big sporting event and boost Wuhan's influence," Chen Weihua, deputy director of the East Lake area's administrative committee, told China Daily.

"The race not only provides an opportunity for citizens to enjoy the rowing festival, but will also enhance communication between elite universities at home and abroad," Chen said.

Chen also said the event would help promote Wuhan's growing sports culture.

In Britain, the annual Oxford-Cambridge race is a well-established fixture on the sporting calendar. Every year it is watched by tens of thousands of people along the River Thames, and on TV by millions more around the world. This year's race was won by Oxford which beat Cambridge on March 30 by a length and a half in the 159th edition.

Liu Qing, an official from the China Water Sports Administration, said although this would be Wuhan's first major splash on the international stage, Chengdu and Zhengzhou had hosted similar events.

As the venue is close by, the oarsmen of Xi'an Jiao Tong University are already undergoing rigorous training. According to Gong Hui, vice-chairman of the University Council, the university's rowing team was established in 2010 and has more than 120 athletes involved in the sport.

Wang Wei, 21, is a rower who has been on the team for three years. He said rowing was all about teamwork and "the key to success lies in effective training and great team morale".

Xi'an Jiao Tong is also the only university that has a women's rowing team and it will take part in the female section in July.

Wang Cong, one of the female athletes, said some of her most memorable experiences at university were related to the rowing team. "I have many friends here, who always support me," she said.

The timetable for the Wuhan regatta has been finalized. In addition to the main race, there will be training sessions, rowing exhibitions and sightseeing tours for the competitors.

All the athletes will visit Wuhan's famous historic sites and taste local food.

"It's a platform for cultural exchange. We hope our guests from around the world will get to appreciate the best of Chinese culture," Chen said.

(China Daily 05/22/2013 page23)

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