Sep 2020 1st edition

South Africa to get rowing

Written by Dale Hes

The development coordinator for Rowing South Africa (RowSA), Virginia Mabaso, has made incredible strides in developing rowing in South Africa, getting children from all sectors of society involved in the sport. Virginia Mabaso is leading the drive to develop rowing in South Africa. Photo: RowSA

Mabaso became an administrator for RowSA in 2007, and soon developed a deep love for the sport. 

“The first race I attended was the South African School Championships. After attending the event, it motivated me to read the rules of rowing and volunteer my time to officiate the sport. I fell in love with it!” Mabaso says. 

Mabaso started to challenge herself to make a real difference in the sport, as the first development manager for RowSA. 

“I came into RowSA without any written documents as to how to develop the sport in the country, so I had to develop plans for the whole process. I was exposed to a whole lot of people in all the provinces. We’ve met incredible kids, incredible coaches and educators.

“The biggest focus right now is to get children into the indoor rowing programme and then onto the water. We have started to add a province into this model every year. Each year, we continue to go into new areas, engaging with the community and local governments.”

Last year, RowSA managed to get the North West province involved in the development programme, giving 27 children the chance to race in the South African National Championships. 

“This year we were supposed to also reach Mpumalanga and the Free State, but due to the lockdown we didn’t have that opportunity.”

Mabaso says that apart from rowing being a healthy and fun sport, it can also turn into a career. 

“We encourage educators to get involved by contacting us so that we can help with starting up and sustaining programmes.”

Mabaso is also an inspiration to all young women who want to get involved in sports administration. Thanks to her achievements in developing rowing, she won Sports Administrator of the Year at the SA Sports Awards in 2015 and 2018.  

For more information about getting involved in rowing, contact RowSA at 011 440 0965.

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