BROOKES|Shanghai Head of the River Regatta 2023
Last week, Brookes had the huge fortune of being invited to the Shanghai Head of the River Regatta raced on the Suzhou Creek situated in the heart of the city. Brookes were represented by a men’s and women’s VIII in the 3rd edition of the race. A group of 23, including athletes and coaches were a part of the travelling team. The race has been expanded to include not only the university and club groups, but also the elite and youth groups, making the race more professional.
Athletes were welcomed by the organisers on arrival at the exceptional facilities at the Shanghai Water Sports Centre where the Senior World Championships are set to be held in 2025 after the Olympics next year. Training was held here for the first few days of the trip in the lead up to the race held near The Bund at the heart of the city, which is one of the most popular tourist attractions in China.
The group of 23 were toured around the amazing scenery located around the city on several days. On the first full day after training on the lake, the group were lucky enough to be toured around the Shanghai TV tower – which is one of the original skyscrapers built in the city, followed by photos at several iconic landmarks along the Huangpu River. The day concluded at the Yu Garden Restaurant where visiting parties were treated to some Chinese culture with the teaching of local dialects, making of dumplings, a full taster menu and an opera performance.
After relocating to the centre of Shanghai, the press conference for the event was held in Shanghai Tower, the 3rd tallest building in the world. This was followed by the team presentation at Shanghai Rowing Club. Racing was to be held over two days, the first being a 4.2km Chase Race along the Suzhou Creek. The second being a series of sprint races after a ranking been drawn from the previous day. Competition included strong crews from the Chinese National team, Team Australia’s Development group, Cambridge University.
After some tough racing in stunning scenery, Brookes came away in 3rd place with both crews in the Chase race. This set up some exciting racing the following day on the shorter 500m course. With some tricky steering involved along the course, Brookes fought hard against the Chinese national team and were able to claim another 3rd place and a strong 2nd position with the women’s crew.
A great experience all around, culminated with a spectacular gala dinner overlooking the city where crews celebrated a fantastic week in one of the most impressive cities in the world. We would like to thank the sponsors and organisers for their tremendous hospitality and invitation to what was undoubtedly the best rowing experience that any of the members of the Brookes contingent had ever been involved in before.