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Holiday special (19 December)

The last sessions before the club was closed for the festive season was a 'holiday special'. It was for the 'old' rowers who had been active during the holiday. We rowed about 8km up our beautiful Kowie River to a nice braai area where we enjoyed a good swim, some fishing and too much food.

a good swim
too much food

Beginners course (November/December)

Just before the start of the holiday we started a beginners course with basic swimming and rowing lessons. The coaching is in the hands of the old rowers, with senior rower Chuma Nyendwana as head coach. The beginners row and swim at Kiddies Beach, a nice and safe shallow lagoon. After passing the rowing and swimming tests the beginners start rowing on our Kowie River.

beginners rowing at Kiddies Beach
beginner swimming at Kiddies Beach

Schools Boat Race (6-7 December)

We had selected an eight for Boat Race with rowers from Nemato and ZRC (Port Elizabeth), but unfortunately a couple of lazy Nemato rowers, how should have know better, spoiled the fun by missing sessions, so we withdraw the eight. That was very sad for those rowers who really wanted it and worked hard. Our girls quad participated but it was a disappointing experience because they did not improve on last year. The good news came from our cox Mbulelo Nelson who was invited to cox the reserves quad. Thanks to his very sharp steering they won the D-final. We assisted the Mondeor eight with equipment.

Nemato cox coxing the reserve quad to victory in the D-final
Mondeor eight racing in a Nemato boat, Nemato girls in the background

SA Sports Awards (26 November)

Nemato Rowing Club was nominated for the South African Sports Awards, the most prestigious sports awards event in South Africa organised by South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC), the Department of Sport and Recreation, the SABC and the Free State. It was a spectacular 2 hour event life broadcasted on SABC radio and tv. We did not win, but is was a great honour to be nominated amongst all the greatest names in sport in South Africa.

Gloria Bosman and dancers performing at the SA Sports Awards event
club captain Ricardo Braaf with award winning Olympic medallist Khotso Mokoena

Heads Regatta (1 November)

On the first of November we competed in East London on the Buffalo River: the Head's Regatta. The organisers changed the racing distance from 2000m to 1000m due to strong head wind. Our eight won the 3rd eights race convincingly.

Nemato eight winning their race
Nemato eight after winning their race

ZRC (18 October)

ZRC in Port Elizabeth was the first competition of the season. We participated with all 28 rowers of our club. We got many second places but only one first place: Wendi Hoyi in the girls 15 B scull.

Wendy Hoyi after winning her race
Ashley Backward in the junior 15 scull

Jack Cheetham Award (14 October)

In 2006 Nemato Rowing Club won the prestigious Murray & Roberts Jack Cheetham Award. The award comes with prize money over 5 years. We also get invited every year for the award evening. This year our cox Mbulelo Nelson and our coach Jan Blom attended. It was a very exciting and inspiring experience. This year's winner is a wrestling project for previously disadvantaged blind youth.

Nelson Mandela Square, Sandton, Johannesburg
our taxi in front of Sandton Holiday Inn Hotel

Adventure Camp (30 September - 1 October)

The camp was organised by our own rowers, the organising group, assisted by students from Rhodes University. The three day camp outside Grahamstown had all sorts of team building and survival activities including: hiking, canoeing, abseiling, making fire without matches, filtering water and game watching. It was tough but exciting and fun.

adventure camp
adventure camp

Nemato Indoor Rowing Champs (19 September)

The Eastern Cape Indoor Championships did not take place this year. We decided to organise our own championships: Nemato Indoor Rowing Champs. All rowers of the club participated in the 2000m races.
Girls Junior 15: Destiny Nelson
Girls Junior 18: Nolufefe Ngotsha
Boys Junior 15: Damian Marais
Boys Junior 18: Ricardo Braaf
Boys Senior: Chuma Nyendwana

Nemato Indoor Rowing Champs
Nemato Indoor Rowing Champs: all winners

Nemato Sculls Head (30 August)

On Saturday 30 August the Nemato Sculls Head took place on the Kowie River in Port Alfred. All Nemato rowers participated in single sculls in this long distance club competition. It was our first competition of the rowing season.
girls junior 18 (4km): Nolufefe Ngotsha
girls junior 15 (4km): Destiny Nelson
boys senior (6km): Athenkosi Hlekani
boys junior 18 (6km): Mandilakhe Matthews
boys junior 15 (4km): Khanyisa Duruwa

Nemato Sculls Head: boys junior 18
Nemato Sculls Head: girls junior 18

NSRI visit (24 August)

Nemato Rowing Club visited the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) in Port Alfred. No boring talk, but a lot of action, playing the crew on the two rescue boats and a joyride in the rubber duck. It was an exciting afternoon.

Nemato rowers visit the NSRI
Nemato rowers visit the NSRI

English lessons

The rowers have weekly extra lessons mainly to improve their English, but also mathematics and general life skills. The lessons take place in the EISS activity centre in Nemato and EISS teachers and students take care of the teaching. In the picture rowers studying the Encyclopaedia Britannica donated by EISS to Nemato Rowing Club.

English lessons
English lessons

Holiday trip to PE (11-12 July)

The most active rowers of our club deserved something special. A group of girls together with our assistant coach Mk Raco formed an organising group and organised a two day holiday trip to Port Elizabeth. Our elite rowers and the most active members of the equipment group were invited. It was a short holiday without rowing or any training sessions, just a lot of fun and too much chicken.

Bay World in PE
the rowers on holiday in PE

Equipment group (July)

Every weekday morning in the winter holiday we had an equipment group repairing boats. All rowers who wanted to participate were welcome. We had a group of very keen and active rowers who turned up early every day and enjoyed learning how to use tools like drill press, angle grinder, compressor, polisher, and many more. We always had some nice food for well deserved spoiling.

equipment group in action
polishing the coach boat

Holiday Rowing Special (5 July)

Today Nemato rowers had a special holiday rowing session. It was the first time for the beginners to row in team boats. They were rowing together with the experienced rowers.
Donovan Cech coached one of the boats. Donovan won, together with Ramon di Clemente, bronze at the 2004 Olympic Games in the coxless pair. That was the first ever African Olympic medal in rowing. His coaching made our special session extra special.

experienced rowers learning new skills: rowing the pair
Donovan coaching old and new rowers in the eight

Youth Day (16 June)

On June 16 1976 South African youth started uprisings against the apartheid regime and its educational policies. The new democratic government introduced Youth Day on June 16 as national holiday to commemorate the youth killed in the struggle and to celebrate the youth. On Youth Day 2006 Nemato Rowing Club organised celebrations in Port Alfred and was officially launched by the National Minister of Sport & Recreation Rev. Stofile. This year our gym on Youth Day became a small birthday party. Our club is two years old now!

Youth Day and Birth Day party
Youth Day and Birth Day party

Horse Shoe Bend rowing (7-8 June)

Nemato rowers went for a long distance row in single sculls. Four of our beginners under 14 year went for a 12.5km row to Boat Race start in cold, wet and windy weather. Four experienced girls did 20km in the same difficult conditions. The other groups enjoyed better weather. Eight older beginners rowed 20km and 13 experienced boys rowed 40km to the famous Horse Shoe Bend in the Kowie River. All rowers completed this exhausting exercise in less than 4 hours.

Horse Shoe Bend mountain in the background
short break at the Horse Shoe Bend

Heritage Mall Indoor Marathon (31 May)

Our indoor rowing marathon at the Heritage Mall in Port Alfred. The aim was to bring our club closer to the public. We offered the public an opportunity to try rowing on the machines. We also used it to fundraise for the club. We collected an amount of R1279.65 and more is promised. Ten rowers in the age groups Under 14 and 15 did a half an hour row and 25 older rowers a full hour. It was a very changeling test and we are proud that all rowers finished their full session and many improved their personal best. Lunga Mcetywa won with 14508 meters, but he did not improve his own club record of 14900m. Nolufefe Ngotsha improved her own club record for girls to 12444m. In total the rowers covered a distance of 369km and 968m.

last minutes of a one hour row
our transport is walking

Power boat ergo (18 May)

The 2008 power boat races in Port Alfred had a couple of extra sport events including handball, boxing and ergo rowing. Nemato Rowing Club had ergo club competition. The races on rowing machines were for the new rowers over 2000m and for the experienced rowers over 5000m. Nolufefe Ngotsha improved her own girls club best by a minute to 23:15.4. Lunga Mcetywa won the boys competition with a new boys club best of 19:08.8. In total 34 Nemato rowers competed.

Lunga Mcetywa winning the boys race in a club best time
Elzane de Jager turning the corner in the Port Alfred Power Boat Race

Round Table run (3 May)

Nemato Rowing Club participated in the Round Table 10km run in Port Alfred. The rowers did very well. Everybody finished the run and 4 boys and 2 girls were in the prize winning top five, winning many prizes from t-shirts to a night in a lodge in a game reserve.

Nemato rower close to the finish of the 10km run
prize winning Nemato rowers with the prizes

Beginners on the river (May)

The beginners are confidently rowing on the river now.

beginners on the Kowie River
beginners on the Kowie River

Eton College (1 - 2 April)

Two eights from Eton College from England visited Port Alfred for a few days. We showed them our beautiful beach and dunes, we had a row together, Eton organised us a nice lunch and we took them on a township hike. It is nice to see how easy youngsters become friends no matter how different the background: youth from an elite school from England and township youth from South Africa. It was a great experience for everybody.

Eton and Nemato rowers with Talk of the Town journalist
township hike for Eton College rowers

South African Championships (29 February - 2 March)

Two days before our planned departure to Gauteng, we had to cancel our trip to SA Champs: short on money, no accommodation, no transport for our boats, etc. Through great last minute help by Andrew Craig, Jonathan Handley, Donovan Cech and many others, things suddenly came together and we were on our way to SA Champs. We used boats from other clubs, and the rowers were split into different groups to be accommodated. The races were changed from the standard 2000m to a sprint of 700m. This was a disappointment. The competition was on the tough side and got us unprepared. The boys quad managed to go through to B finals and they came fourth. This was a disappointing turn out to what we expected but at least rowers rowed their best and showed passion.

Nemato rowers at the SA Champs venue
nice accommodation with swimming pool

Buffalo Regatta (14-16 February)

Nemato Rowing Club went to Buffalo Regatta in East London. It was our first competition at national level this year and a test to see if we are competitive at that level. Our first challenge was to get enough funding together to get there. An article in the Daily Dispatch about our financial problems resulted in very generous donations covering all our expenses. A warm thank you to everybody who helped us out!
We had a mix of disappointments and great successes: equipment problems and an inflexible regatta program made us miss many races, but the races we raced without problems were very successful. Unfortunately the girls missed most races and had a disappointing weekend, but all boys we made it to the finals in the four levels of open sculls races and with excellent results: a first place for Lubabalo Matthews in the 4th scull, and a second place for Lunga Mcetywa in the 3rd scull. Chuma Nywendwana was leading the 2nd scull race but got problems with his seat and finished third. Athenkosi Hlekani finished third in 1st sculls. The boys quad unfortunately missed the heat but raced the sprint competition and proved to be at the top of national level rowing with a second place in the first level open quads sprint race. All together we showed at the regatta that Nemato Rowing Club has become very competitive at national level!

Nemato's boys quad at Buffalo Regatta
donors keep Nemato afloat

Grey Regatta (9 February)

Grey High School in Port Elizabeth organised an extra competition for all rowers who don't participate in next week's Buffalo Regatta. Nemato Rowing Club participated with 11 boys and 3 girls. It was a nice day, but with very difficult wind challenging the rowing and steering skills of the rowers. We lost some races and we won some more. Hopefully this regatta will be back next year and grow to an even more attractive alternative for Buffalo.

Nemato rower beating ZRC and Grey at the Grey Regatta
Nemato rowers beating Grey at the Grey Regatta

Eastern Cape Championships (2 February)

On Saturday 2nd February Nemato Rowing Club participated in the Eastern Cape Championships in East London.
For the first time ever the club won provincial championships medals:
- Nolufefe Ngotsha is the Eastern Cape Champion in the under 16 girls single scull
- Athenkosi Hlekani is the Eastern Cape Champion in the boys single scull
Our eight was promoted from 3rd level to 2nd level and finished in a excellent second place after St. Andrew's from Grahamstown, beating Selborne from East London and Grey from Port Elizabeth.

Nolufefe after winning the under 16 Eastern Cape Championship
Nemato after beating the Selborne 2nd eight

Boat skills (January)

Summer holiday is a nice time to practice boat skills. It is a fun way to spend a hot summer day, and at the same time it improves confidence and safety on the water. One of the skills we practice is getting back into the boat after falling into the water.

boat skills: 'sleeping' rowing competition
boat skills: getting back into the boat

Lunch with St. Andrew's (11 January)

In the weeks before Boat Race the St. Andrew's first eight invited the Nemato first eight for a braai. We had a wonderful time together. Now it was time for us to invite St. Andrew's for a lunch in the township. Again we had a great time together. It was a good experience for everybody.

Lillian explaining our traditional food
St. Andrew's and Nemato boys enjoying lunch

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