Colombo Rowing Club won the annual Madras-Colombo Rowing Regatta 2019 and the prestigious Boat Race in a comprehensive victory over Madras Boat Club, which was held on the waters of Adyar River in Chennai, India.
During the 80th edition of the region’s longest-running Regatta, Sri Lanka’s Colombo Rowing Club (CRC) crew, comprising Ruven Weerasinghe, Sandesh Bartlett, Abdulla Hassan, Suhith Alexander and Ashmitha Gunaratne (cox) teamed up to beat Madras Boat Club (MBC) crew which included Neeto, Geoffrey, Vishal, Aditya and Sanjay Gandhi (cox).
The Colombo crew recorded 2:37.56 minutes and had a lead of nearly five seconds to register an easy victory as the MBC timed just 2:42.25 minutes.
In the Ladies Four, Sri Lanka’s famous women’s oarswomen, Ishara Abbey, Swarnamali Wijesinghe, Ishika de Silva, Amani Tissera and Ashmitha Gunaratne (cox) clocked 2:56.53 minutes to beat the MBC crew of Roshni, Pooja, Lavanya, Ranjana and Sidesh Nair (cox).
Madras Boat Club and Colombo Rowing Club are regarded as the Asia’s oldest rowing rivalry.
It started in 1943 as a Boat Race and extended to become a Regatta by incorporating more boat classes besides the Boat Race.
Since then, it has been extended further over the years to incorporate 12 different races in Single Sculls, Double Sculls, Pairs and Coxed Fours across both men’s women’s categories.
A friendship, and sense of rivalry, that has only strengthened over the years.
Apart from two brief intervals due to the World War I and World War II, the Madras-Colombo Boat Race has been held almost every year up to date, making it the oldest rowing rivalry duel in Asia.
In 1934, the Boat Race was extended to become a regatta by incorporating more boat classes besides the Boat Race.
Since then, it has been extended further over the years to incorporate 12 difference races in single sculls, double sculls, pairs and coxed fours across both men’s and women’s categories.
In this year’s regatta Colombo crew comprised of 19 athletes. It included a dozen of oarsmen – Abdulla Hassen, Arjun Wickramanayake, Chaniru Hewamanna, Charin Wijetilleke, Damian Perera, Hasehan Hettigoda, Lasaru Kudaligama, Lasindu Gamage, Ruvendra Weerasinghe, Sajin de Livera, Sandesh Bartlett and Suhith Alexander.
Women’s crew included Amani Tissera, Ashmitha Gunaratne, Ishara Abbey, Ishika de Silva, Samaakya Gajanayake, Swarnamali Wijesinghe as they went on to record a clean sweep against Madras oarswomen.
For first time in the history, Colombo Rowing Club captained by a woman. Ishika de Silva captained the team and Chamal Jayanetti was her deputy while Mohamed Rifath coached.
Boat Race: (CRC) Ruven Weerasinghe, Sandesh Bartlett, Abdulla Hassan, Suhith Alexander, Ashmitha Gunaratne (Cox) 2:37.56 beat (MBC) Neeto, Geoffrey, Vishal, Aditya, Sanjay Gandhi (Cox) 2:42.25.
Ladies Four: (CRC) Ishara Abbey, Swarnamali Wijesinghe, Ishika de Silva, Amani Tissera, Ashmitha Gunaratne (Cox) 2:56.53 beat (MBC) Roshni, Pooja, Lavanya, Ranjana, Sidesh Nair (Cox) 3:01.69.
Men’s B Four: (CRC) Charin Wijetilleke, Lasindu Gamage, Sajin de Livera, Lasaru Kudaligama, Chaniru Hewamanne (Cox) 2:39.72 min beat (MBC) Gowtham, Anirudh, Varun, Sohil, Sidesh Nair (Cox).
Men’s A Pair: (CRC) Ruven Weerasinghe, Sandesh Bartlett 2:45.00 beat (MBC) Adiv, Mahinth 2:59.16.
Ladies Scull: (CRC) Ishara Abbey 3:18.90 beat (MBC) Tulsi Sriram 3:35.25.
Men’s A Double Scull: (MBC) Keertan, Siddarth Sunil 2:30.91 beat (CRC) Lasaru Kudaligama, Hashen Hettigoda 2:39.72.
Ladies A Pair: (CRC) Ishika de Silva, Amani Tissera 3:24.04 beat (MBC) Nandhika, Anoushka 3:30.31.
Ladies A Double Scull: (CRC) Swarnamali Wijesinghe, Samaakhya Gajanayake 3:03.12 beat (MBC) Lavanya, Pooja 3:10.31.
Men’s B Pair: (CRC) Abdulla Hassen, Suhith Alexander 2:49.79 beat (MBC) Goutham, Sohail 2:58.78.
Men’s A Scull: (CRC) Arjun Wickremenayake 2:37.75 beat (MBC) Siddarth Sunil 2:38.75.
Men’s B Double Scull: (CRC) Damian Perera, Sajin de Livera 2:30.50 beat (MBC) Devanantha, Jadan Moses 2:36.35.
Men’s B Scull: (MBC) Keertan 2:34.54 beat (CRC) Hashen Hettigoda 2:37.06.