Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to row in. Unbelievable though it seems for the water-body filled country of Bangladesh, the Bangladesh Rowing Federation has been unable to introduce international level competitions for lack of a suitable body of water.
Since independence, the rowing federation has been preoccupied with the traditional boat race, which is run in rivers. The promotion and progress of events like sculls and double sculls, which require a still body of water such as a lake, have been neglected because, amazingly, the federations have not been able to find a suitable water-body.
In 1996, the International Rowing Federation provided six fibre glass boats to Bangladesh, and the federation built a boat-house in Gulshan lake to use the boats. A few years later, however, the Rajuk destroyed the boathouse with it, the use of the boats.
Monirul Alam, the joint secretary of the federation was depressed with the proceedings. “I have tried to introduce the games rowing in the country since 1984, but have never found the true support from the government or the other concerned sectors. We need a water body of 2,000 metre but 1,000 metre will also serve the purpose to practice the scull, but we are still to find one,” said Monirul Alam.
The rowing federation sees a possible opportunity in the Hatirjheel project. “We are trying to get the allocation of the Hatirjheel project for the purpose. Though we have not measured the length, we think it will serve our cause. If we get the Hajtirjheel project for practice, we have every hope that we can succeed in the international arena,” said Monirul.
He explained his reasoning. “We have got skilled and powerful rowers across the country, if we can provide them the necessary training and some international exposure, I think they will cope with the international standards.”
Meanwhile, the federation struggled to gather the country’s rowers for the Bangladesh Games, since the rainy season has yet to start. They finally managed to field eight teams for rowing events. The men’s event is a 25 man, international standard competition, while the women’s event has seven member boats.
The final of both the events will take place today. The races start at the Naryanganj Pagla Ghat and finishes under the Postogola Bridge.