— Published 12 September 2023

World Rowing still waiting

World Rowing grows its walls. Meeting for its annual congress on Monday 11th September in Belgrade (Serbia), the day after the World Rowing Championships, the world rowing body welcomed two new member countries. The Sultanate of Oman and Papua New Guinea have officially joined World Rowing, which now has 159 national member federations. The Asian Rowing Federation was also recognized by the congress as a new continental confederation. Another highlight was a video message from Thomas Bach, presented at the opening of the proceedings, in which the IOC President reiterated the importance of rowing in the Olympic movement. The Belgrade Congress could have celebrated the entry of sea rowing into the Los Angeles 2028 Games, but the postponement of the Executive Board’s decision on the sports program for the Olympic event in California forced IOC President Jean-Christophe Rolland to continue talking about the issue in the conditional tense. The French leader repeated before the congress: “A historic step would be taken by our sport if the decision to include coastal rowing in the Olympic program were to be positive. It would give us a huge responsibility to rise to the occasion. Whatever the outcome of the decision, we are convinced of the discipline’s enormous potential.” Pending an IOC decision to be announced in the coming weeks, World Rowing has launched the vast task of overhauling its calendar and events. The aim is to ensure that rowing competitions remain relevant, attractive, sustainable and commercially viable.