Rowing History in Thailand

Four-time Olympian Phuttharaksa Neegree, of Thailand, an inspiration for many Asian female rowers. Photo:

18 November 2016

The other day, FISA reported on its website,, that an all-female rowing course for coaches had been held in Thailand. This was a historic event as it was the first time a coaches course in rowing had been organised for women only. FISA writes on its website:

The course had participants from throughout Asia including Olympians from Iran, Singapore and Thailand. India’s representative, Surani Mitra Ghosh, came as one of the only professional female rowing coaches in India. Sri Lanka, Myanmar, China, Japan and Uzbekistan were also part of the 14 countries taking part in the course. Some of the attendees were established coaches, while others were former athletes making the move over to coaching. Canadian Olympian and Coach Laryssa Biesenthal shared her experiences of transitioning from athlete to coach.

Organised in conjunction with the Asian Rowing Federation (ARF) and the FISA development programme, the camp worked with Dr Donna de Haan from the University of Applied Sciences in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, who looked at how to best coach female athletes. Yihuan Chang, FISA development coordinator, noted that from recent research it has been concluded that coaching female athletes does need a specific approach compared to the traditional way of coaching. This led to the course including female coaching alongside technical aspects of coaching.

Thailand was chosen as the course location as it worked in with the Asian Junior Rowing Championships in Pattaya, Thailand, which also included the Asian Rowing Federation junior training camp and the Olympic Council of Asia training camp. The course participants were able to gain practical experience by working with the junior rowers in their preparation for the Asian Junior Rowing Championships.

‘The experienced scullers amongst them did a fantastic job of taking out young junior rowers including some from Nepal, Bahrain, Laos who had never rowed before,’ said Chris Perry, FISA development consultant and chair of the ARF competitive committee.

A 2,000-metre rowing course and facilities is being developed in Thailand. It will become Thailand’s rowing training base by 2017 and is part of a growth in rowing in the nation. The country currently has three rowing clubs spread over the north, middle and east and Perry said there has been an influx of young rowers inspired by four-time Olympian Phuttharaksa Neegree, who competed in the single sculls at the Rio Olympics [third place in FE], at the age of 42, [and in the lightweight single sculls in the World Championships in Rotterdam, second in FD].

At the conclusion of the course, Perry emphasised that this was not the end of the programme. ‘The intention is to continue to keep close contact with the participants and to try to encourage and mentor them to further develop in their rowing and future careers – whatever they ultimately choose to do,’ said Perry. ‘ARF will also look into extending the programme further with additional participants in the future.’

This is the first time that there has been an all-female coaches course in rowing.

And the four C’s of coaching: confidence, clarity, communication and confirmation (feedback).

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