Introduction to Rowing

Rowing is a traditional sport that has been practiced competitively since the 18th century. Rowers sit in a narrow boat, facing backwards, and use oars or sculls to move the boat forward.

There are two basic types of competitions: regatta and head-of-the-river races. The regatta is decided by knockout, with a final being held to determine the winning crew.

Head-of-the-river races are decided by the crew that achieves the fastest time over a set course.

Rowers have some of the highest power outputs of any athletes in the world and must develop both as endurance and sprint athletes. They also have to tailor their breathing, as the rowing motion compresses rowers' lungs, limiting the amount of available oxygen.



Rowing was a means of transport in the ancient civilisations of Egypt, Greece and Rome, but rowing as a sport began in Victorian England in the 19th century.

Rowing was first recorded as a competitive sport in 1716 when boats raced five miles between two different pubs on the River Thames, an event that still takes place. In 1829 the annual boat race between Oxford and Cambridge universities was established.

As rowing became more competitive, races and equipment changed. In 1846 Oxford developed outriggers, oars that were secured away from the side of the boat to give more leverage, while fixed seats were changed to sliding ones by Yale oarsmen in 1870.

Modern rowing boats are called shells and are made from composite materials rather than wood.

Men's rowing was included as an Olympic sport in 1896, while women competitors were admitted to the Games at Montreal in 1976.

Rowing has been in the Asian Games programme since the 9th Asian Games in Delhi, India, in 1982.



Rowing competitions are conducted in accordance with the rules and regulations of the International Rowing Federation (FISA) and the Asian Rowing Federation.

Races will be conducted over 1,000m with four lanes. The progression system for four racing lanes will be developed.

Any unforeseen cases not covered by the regulations shall be dealt with in the following manner:

  • Cases of a general nature shall be resolved in accordance with the OCA constitution and rules.
  • Technical issues shall be resolved in accordance with the FISA and ARF rules.