Lake Club dominates

AMITABHA DAS SHARMA

P. R. Das Munshi (partly hidden) giving away the overall trophy to the Lake Club team. — Pic. PARTH SANYAL-

THE dominance in the inter-club men's regatta of the country continued to remain with Lake Club, Kolkata, which hosted the 64th Amateur Rowing Association of the East (ARAE) meet at Kolkata's only big lake, Ravindra Sarovar. There was a new entrant in the women's section with Orissa's Jagatpur Rowing Club sweeping all the medals. With the two clubs monopolising the show in respective sections, the remaining participants had to rummage for the second best slots available.

A total of 11 clubs, including teams for a separate military section, participated in the only national event for the rowing clubs of the country. There were two foreign participants — Sri Lanka's Colombo Rowing Club and Pakistan's Karachi Boat Club — adding to the glamour of the event. The 71-year-old event coaxed one to have a peek into an interesting history that put the meet as the progenitor of rowing clubs in the country. And for the first time in many years — Madras Boat Club, Calcutta Rowing Club and Karachi BC — out of the four existing founder members congregated making the meet even more special.

The only absentee among the founders was Bombay-Gymkhana Club while the two others — Royal Connaught Boat Club and Rangoon Boat Club have ceased to exist. The most celebrated of all was the arrival of the Karachi Boat Club, which participated after a gap of 23 years.

History came alive in the veteran's coxed four event — the only one that broke the monopoly of Lake Club and Jagatpur RC — where the Karachi club took on the counterparts from Madras Boat Club. The result was thrilling as the Pakistanis beat the Chennai men in a virtual photo finish — by half a canvas length. There was more to the story as Karachi BC's win came following a friendly gesture by the Chennai men who agreed to a re-race after the Pakistan visitors complained about one of the footholds of their boat coming loose during the race. Madras Boat Club had technically won the race easily on the first instance.

The main events finished on the predicted lines as the host's teams made it to all the finals of the four events — single and double sculls, coxwainless pairs and coxed fours. The dominance was so overwhelming that three finals came out to be all-Lake Club affairs with Lake Club's both `A' and `B' teams progressing to the title clash. The only exception was the coxwainless pairs where Calcutta RC's team challenged Lake Club `A'.

The results

Men: all finals: Single sculls: Lake Club `A' bt Lake Club `B' by 1 boat length. Double sculls: Lake Club `A' bt Lake Club `B' by 1 1/2 lengths.

Coxless pairs: Lake Club `A' bt Calcutta RC `A' easily. Coxed fours: Lake Club `A' bt Lake Club `B' easily.

Women: Single sculls: Jagatpur RC `A' bt Jagatpur RC `B' by 1 length. Double sculls: Jagatpur RC `A' bt Madras BC easily.

Coxless pairs: Jagatpur RC bt Lake Club `A' easily. Coxed fours: Jagatpur RC bt Lake Club `A' easily.

Military section:

Single sculls: 1. Bengal RC; 2. Lake Club. Double sculls: 1. Bengal RC; 2. Lake Club. Coxwainless pairs: 1. Bengal RC; 2. Lake Club. Coxed fours: 1. Lake Club `A'. 2. Lake Club `B'.

Veterans:

Coxed fours: Final: Karachi BC bt Madras BC by 1/2 a canvas length.