Virtual boat race for students

100 schools from city & districts to take part in contest

By Rith Basu in Calcutta
  • Published 10.09.18
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School students test their strength on indoor rowing machines at Calcutta Rowing Club on Sunday. Picture by Gautam Bose

Calcutta: Fifty schools from the city and as many from 10 districts will take part in a rowing contest without water or racing boats.

The tournament, to start on Monday, will see the students pull hard on indoor rowing machines, which will be wired to a laptop, to cover a 250m lap.

A projector will be used to beam the virtual race on a big screen for everyone to see and cheer.

Accomplished rowers from the city schools will be barred from participating in the tournament.

"The idea is to introduce newcomers to the sport. So, accomplished rowers in the city schools will not be allowed to participate in the contest. In the districts, there are hardly any rowing facilities," said Shakil Ahmed of Bengal Water Sports, which is organising the tournament in association with the Bengal Olympic Association and Calcutta Rowing Club.

The tournament will be held in three age categories - U-12, U-15 and U-18. Three teams - one in each category- will be selected from each boys' or girls' school and six teams from each co-educational institution.

Each team will have three members.

The winning teams will vie with one another at the district level. The district champions will lock horns at the state-level contest to represent the "rest of Bengal" in each age category at the national meet.

Similarly, the best teams from the city will represent Calcutta at the national meet.

The national champions will represent India in the final, to be held in Calcutta on December 2.

Schools from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal will take part in the final contest.

A demo for novices was held at Calcutta Rowing Club on Sunday. Nitu Shaw, a Class IX student of Andrew's High School, was ecstatic after trying her hand at a virtual boat race.

"The next time I row, I will do much better. It was thrilling to see the boats move ahead on the big screen as we rowed. It was a tough battle between me and the girl next to me for the second position," she said.