NMMU outreach boosts township rowing

For the next two Sundays (21 October and 28 October), 15 aspiring rowers from KwaZakhele and Motherwell will be put through their paces on Redhouse River, coached by Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s first and second team rowing crews.

NMMU’s Learn to Row programme, which is funded by the National Lottery, aims to identify and nurture talented township rowers. “We want to promote the sport of rowing in the townships,” said NMMU Rowing Club development and transformation officer Mteteleli Biko.

Biko said NMMU already assisted with coaching at Grey and supported talented rowers from development squad ZRC (Zwartkops Rowing Club) by providing opportunities for them to participate at higher levels – and planned to continue coaching the most promising rowers from the Learn to Row programme.

The youngsters – boys and girls in their early to late teens – are all members of Siyanqoba Sports Club, a community sports centre in Motherwell.

Biko said the programme – running from 8am to 10am each Sunday – included a talk on rowing, practice on “ergos” (rowing machines) and then practical rowing lessons on the water.

While all the youngsters must be able to swim, life-guard volunteers in motorboats will be close by to assist if necessary.