Stars relishing Buffalo battle
The best oarsmen and women from around the country are ready to get down to business as the annual RMB Buffalo Regatta gets under way on the Buffalo river on Thursday morning.
Over 2,000 athletes are taking part in 132nd showing of one of the most popular events on the rowing calendar, with three days of absorbing action for spectators to enjoy, including Friday’s 60th Selborne Sprints Regatta, which will up the excitement levels.
“We are all ready, everything is in place and we hope the weather plays its part. So far it is looking good, the wind seems to be staying away and we just hope the rain holds off,” said East London Boating Association chairperson Philip King.
“Adding to this year’s event we will be attempting to livestream the Regatta for the first time, so hopefully people can pick it up live and watch it from wherever they are in the country.”
With the top-class talent taking part in the event, the national squad members always bring an extra level of competition to the Regatta, with many looking to impress the watching coaches, with qualification for the Olympics on many of their minds.
Former Silver Sculls and Grand Challenge champ, Lawrence Brittain, will be one of the main athletes to watch and, having picked up both titles (The Challenge with his brothers) in 2017, and missed out on last year’s Regatta, he will try to reclaim his titles.
“I really love the Buffalo Regatta as it is one of the most prestigious races in the country,” said Brittain.
“I took some time off at the beginning of last year and it really hurt to see the others racing down the river without me. I certainly won’t be gifting the win away as easily as I did in 2018.
“The racing is going to be extremely competitive this year. With Olympic qualification around the corner in August and Tokyo 2020 bearing down on us the heavyweight team is at full steam ahead.
“Not only is there the prestige of getting your name on the largest trophy in Africa up for grabs, but also a chance to prove ourselves to the coaches Roger Barrow and Marco Galeone. This is a big one to get your name on a seat for the year to come.”
On the school front, Selborne College and Clarendon High will be flying the local flag and will be hoping to be at the top of their game during the Buffalo and especially in the exhilarating Selborne Sprints event.
They will face a stern test from some of the best rowing schools from around the country, including St Albans and St Andrew’s College on the boys’ front, and St Mary’s and St Andrew’s School for Girls on the girls’ side.
The Regatta’s main sponsors are also looking forward to the three days of rowing action.
“The RMB Buffalo Regatta is one of five regattas that RMB sponsors each year, and as one of the most established national regattas, RMB is proud to support this fantastic event,” said Tracy Pringle from RMB.
“As the regatta plays host to the RMB national squad, schools, clubs and universities from across the country, it showcases South African rowing at all levels.
“We are delighted to see the RMB Buffalo Regatta going from strength to strength, with Philip King and his efficient team at the helm, and we look forward to an action-packed three days of racing.”
Day one’s action gets under way early on Thursday morning, at 6am, and should conclude soon after 5pm...