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.

 Rowing in Pakistan

Rowing has always faced two difficulties in Pakistan. Those are :

  • Lack of equipment
  • Lack of facilities for practice

Karachi and Lahore have always been and still are the major centres of rowing. However, in Lahore, wide-bodied country boats have been used for rowing while in Karachi the boats of international specifications have been used. Rowing in Karachi was restricted to the activities of the Karachi Boat Club, the only organization of Pakistan which -- possesses the boats of international specifications. However, the Karachi Boat Club has been oblivious of the task of promotion of rowing as a sport. It was only considered as a pleasure: seeking physical exercise of a social club. Because of the social stratification, the admission in Karachi Boat Club was not open to all the oarsmen, no matter how talented they were. On the other hand all efforts made in Lahore in respect of rowing were unsatisfactory. There was no hope for improvement in rowing done in the country boats because those are not used in international galas. An organization by the name of Pakistan Rowing Federation has existed in Lahore but its activities were restricted to Lahore only.

Rowing scene in Asia has also not been rosy. Only China and Japan had the rowing teams of good standard and these used to take part in the World Cup. As for countries like India, Sri Lanka, Burma, Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong rowing has been mostly restricted to club level and the competitions also used to take place at this very level.

In 1978 and 1979, a group of dedicated oarsman from Karachi Boat Club started taking part in these competitions. The results were encouraging.

From 1980 onwards, rowing activities took a positive turn in the country. Sind Rowing Association was formed in Karachi and it was affiliated to the Pakistan Rowing Federation thus giving it true national colour. Rowing was included in the National Games for the first time. However, this inclusion was not of much consequence as the Lahore boys rowed amongst themselves in the old-fashioned boats and the Karachi boys competed with each other in the boats of international specification.

In the meantime, the Pakistan Rowing Federation also contributed its bit in the formation of Asian Rowing Federation. With the corporation of the other Asian countries the idea of that body was conceived.