Saturday, April 1

After morning walkers, rowers return to lake

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Rowing resumed at Rabindra Sarobar on Thursday with single-scullers, a day after the 192-acre complexreopened its gates to morning walkers.
Ujjal Dugar, chairman, Bengal Rowing Club (BRC), told TOI, “We started with single-scull rowing to resume our water-based sessions as part of a phased approach to bring athletes back.” Multiple sculling will start gradually, depending on the situation, Dugar added. Established in 1929, BRC is one of the city’s oldest rowing clubs.

Dugar said the club had on Monday decided to recommence minimal activity and made its plans known to members by the evening. “I feel very happy to be back in the lake water,” said Swati Bajaj, a seasoned rower. “My husband and our two kids are also rowers. So we all drove to the club this morning,” the 45-year-old added.

The excitement was the same for Class XII student Pratik Gupta who said, “I was waiting for rowing to restart ever since the unlock was announced. The club had been closed since mid-March and I have been practising on my indoor rowing machine, which, of course, does not compare to the real sport. On Thursday, we wore masks and sanitized our equipment according to Covid-safety norms, but it was great to be back.”

Green activist S M Ghosh, who had been lobbying for reopening of the Lake for morning walkers, said, “It is good to see the Lake limping back to normal after the Amphan devastation. We only wish the place would be cleaned up.”

“The resumption of rowing activity will be limited to the reopening of the site’s outdoor area to accommodate water-based training,” said an official of KMDA, the custodian of the lake. “This would be in line with government guidance which says that the risk of spreading coronavirus is lower in open spaces. Indoor facilities will remain shut for now,” the official added.

However, the other rowing clubs are not looking to reopen yet. Subrata Guha, secretary of Lake Club, said, “We shall decide only after a meeting on Saturday. Only single sculling is possible under the current circumstances.” Calcutta Rowing Club secretary Chandan Roy Chowdhury said, “As per the sports department guidelines, sports activities can’t start until July 31. It is not safe to open up now.”

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee had on Tuesday announced that morning walkers could resume their daily stroll at Rabindra Sarobar and Subhas Sarobar from Wednesday. The gates of the two lakes now open for three hours from 5.30am every day.

Source:Times of India

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