Some of Australia’s top Boat Race Officials have once again travelled to China to officiate in the Xinjin International Universities Rowing Regatta that took place in early August. Australian umpires, Phil Fraser and Greg Smith, were invited to return for their second regatta in the Sichuan Province, while Brett Ralph and Bill Webster formed the rest of the international officials team in 2018.

Aussie Umpires and Chinese Regatta Officials Chengdu 2018

The team of Australian umpires were heavily involved in the delivery of the exciting regatta and worked directly with the organising committee and local umpires and volunteers. The group, at the request of the regatta organisers, assisted in the running of this ninth annual Rowing Regatta which also incorporates dragon boat racing and, for the first time this year, an indoor rowing competition.

Racing was held on the purpose built rowing course which had seen some recent renovation and improvements to allow the 1,000m races to be held using six lanes of the fully buoyed course.

International Universities competed with local universities in two races. Final placings were decided using the combined times from the two races.

The Australia FISA Umpires oversaw a number of races with the following international universities represented at the event – Harvard University, Imperial College London, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Oxford University, Princeton University, Stanford University, Sydney University and Yale University. Meanwhile, the local universities included, Macau University, Peking University, North China University of Water Resources and Electric Power, Air Force Medical University, Tonji University, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Physical Education College of Zhangzhou University, Chengdu Sport Institute and Chengdu University.

The same universities also took part in an indoor rowing competition for the first time in 2018. All competitors raced on Concept 2 Ergometers over 500m (this was shortened from the planned 1,000m due to the hot conditions on the day).

Greg Smith at Indoor Erg Comp in Xinjin

Positive feedback on the work of the umpires involved a the event was received from the athletes and organisers, and the inclusion of Australian umpires in this international event no doubt highlights the experience and reputation of Australia’s BROs as some of the world’s best regatta officials.

With thanks to Chris Noel and Greg Smith.