Rowers cross ocean for contest

By Linda Deng in Seattle | China Daily USA | Updated: 2017-05-05 10:59

University of Washington Rowing, along with Windermere Real Estate, welcomed the Shanghai men's and women's rowing teams from China as the headlining opponent for the 2017 Windermere Cup. A press conference was held on Thursday near the University of Washington campus.

The Shanghai contingent totaled 27 members, including women's coach Chen Jian and men's coach Li Zhibin, staff, and the 18 rowers (nine men and nine women).

The 2017 Windermere Cup matchup will mark the third time that a team from China has traveled to Washington to compete in the Windermere Cup. Their first appearance was 27 years ago when China took home the cup ahead of Navy, Washington and Cambridge. Twelve years later the Chinese men's team returned for the 2002 competition.

It was Chen's first return to the city in 27 years. In 1990 he was a rower on the winning China National Team.

"They are good memories and I am happy to return to learn from one of the best rowing teams in the world," Chen said.

"Our rowers have jet lag from the 15-hour-long trip from China to Seattle, but we are excited to be part of the event," Li said. "It is a good exchange opportunity and will help the athletes gain valuable experience and get better prepared for the national games coming up in China."

"China is a country that has some of the best athletes in the world," said Washington men's head coach Michael Callahan. "Competing against a high-caliber team like this will certainly be a big test for our guys."

The Shanghai teams are currently training to compete in the upcoming Chinese National Games, one of the top-ranked rowing competitions in the world.

Longtime New Zealand National Team coach Dick Tonks began coaching the Shanghai rowers full-time after last summer's Rio Olympics. Tonks is one of the most decorated rowing coaches of all-time, earning Halberg's Coach of the Year on five occasions. He was also named World Rowing Coach of the Year three separate times.

Over the years Tonks has coached his crews to a total of seven Olympic medals, six of them gold, and advanced his teams to 25 World Championships, claiming 13 gold medals.

"Dick is one of the premier coaches in the rowing world," said Washington women's head coach Yaz Farooq. "He built the New Zealand national team from the ground up. Now that he is coaching the Shanghai team, we know that we cannot underestimate what they might be able to do."

This year's Windermere Cup matchup with the Chinese team highlights the University of Washington's strong and lasting relationship with China. As Pacific Rim neighbors, the UW and China share not only an ocean, but also a diverse and interlocking culture.

The Windermere Cup rowing regatta got its start 31 years ago when Windermere Real Estate founder, John Jacobi, joined the University of Washington to create the annual event.

Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349