The Zambezi International Regatta returns to Livingstone!

by Nambeye Katebe

Zambezi Regatta 1905

Zambezi Regatta 1905

Zambezi Regatta 1905
Zambezi Regatta 2004

If you are a boat lover and would like to see some real water sporting action, then you had better put a red mark in your diary for the 19th through to the 26th of September because the Zambezi International Regatta returns to Livingstone for the running of the fourth Oxford v Cambridge v South African Universities boat races at the Zambezi Boat Club!

The event has a rich, exciting history. It was held previously in 1904, 1905 and 1907, way before most of us were around. The last occasion in 2004 included Brown University from the USA. This year is especially interesting in that it is the Centenary of the World Professional Sculling Championships held on the Zambezi River. The event in 1910, exactly a 100 years ago, was hosted by the British South Africa Company to ensure that the development of Central Africa included the sports world as well. They put up a purse of £1,000 to the winner.

In 1910, Richard Arnst from New Zealand and England’s Ernest Barry, two top professional rowers of their day, competed in the race which was won by the New Zealander. In the 2004 regatta Ernest Barry’s nephew rowed an exhibition race on the Zambezi, and his great-nephew rowed for the Cambridge crew. It is planned to bring the crews back again on 19 – 26 September 2010 – that’s this coming weekend! – to compete for various trophies on Saturday 25 September between 0900 hours and 1500 hours.

The rafting event will be held in the gorges between rapids 1 and 7 on Tuesday 21 September. Viewing of the races will be done from the comfort of the Zambezi Boat Club, and VIPs and sponsors will be entertained on board the luxurious African Queen, African Princess and Lady Livingstone launches. The crews have already been put together and are looking forward to the competition which has gained international recognition.

Past races have included Olympic Gold Medallists Luka Grubor, Andrew Lindsay in Sydney, Ed Coode in Athens for Great Britain and Jake Wetzel in Beijing for Canada and reigning World Champions and Gold Medallists in Beijing Peter Reed, Andrew Triggs-Hodge GB). This year is no exception and includes Kieran West (gold in Sydney) amongst others coming along to row.

If you’re feeling a little overshadowed and intimidated by this star studded group, worry not! There will be a number of events which welcome local competitors, such as the Mukoro race, the single kayak race, the double kayak race, the men’s double kayak race, the ladies’ double kayak race, the mixed doubles and the raft race-sprint. So if you are sitting back on that couch doing nothing it’s about time to work on the muscles to raft your way through a fun-filled 8 days!

NOTE: If you would like to assist in helping to run the event on a voluntary basis, especially if you have a safety boat, we will be happy to forward your details to the organisers. Likewise for any sponsors to help with running costs to ensure that the centenary happens in style. Best of Zambia Blog

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