SA’s best to hit Buffalo River for premier regatta race.
EXCITEMENT is building as some of the best rowing talent from around the country begins filtering into East London ahead of the 127th Buffalo Regatta that kicks off tomorrow.
With the 55th annual Selborne Regatta sandwiched in-between the two Buffalo Regatta days, school teams and junior rowers will be battling it out with some fierce rowing action being complemented by the seniors showing us how it is done at the end.
Around 800 rowers will be competing in the premier event with the Buffalo River race boasting that it is the only national regatta where participants from all the senior clubs and junior or school clubs compete side by side.
Around 550 of the rowers are expected to be juniors while the other 250-odd should make up the senior contingent.
At least 500 spectators are expected to pack the boathouse sidebanks of the Buffalo River every day to cheer the crews to victory.
Adding some spice to the regatta will be the three Olympians who will be involved in the action.
Three of the four members of the South African Lightweight crew which took the gold at the 2012 Olympic Games in London will grace the event.
James Thompson, Lawrence Ndlovu and John Smith will all be competing and will row in the colours of Pretoria University (Tuks).
The fourth member of the team, Matthew Brittain, also raced for Tuks, but unfortunately had his promising career cut short when by a back injury.
With three of four Olympic gold medallists involved in the regatta, East Londoners should come out in their numbers to witness these elite athletes in action.
The other senior rowers will also be fired up and keen to lay down a marker, as beating a Olympic champion is definitely something to talk about.
The Buffalo Regatta gets under way tomorrow, beginning with the junior heats, which are rowed over a distance of two kilometres and will take up the entire day.
On Friday, the Selborne Sprint regatta will entertain the spectators with the race being competed over a quick 500m course and promises to throw up some extremely tight finishes.
Saturday will see the senior heats fought out in the early morning before the junior finals take centrestage.
The senior finals will then cap off a wonderful three days of rowing with the country’s best expected to put on a top-class show.