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Read here the World Rowing media release also talking about the future of rowing

The 2023 World Rowing Congress was held Monday, 11 September in Belgrade, Serbia, following the 2023 World Rowing Championships. Delegates from 89 member federations registered to attend either in-person or virtually.

The Congress opened with a video message from the IOC President, Thomas Bach, to highlight the importance of Rowing in the Olympic movement. Updates from the World Rowing President, Jean-Christophe Rolland, and Executive Director, Vincent Gaillard, were provided on various strategic projects, including the Strategic Event and Calendar Review and the Coastal Rowing Development Plan.

While the IOC Executive Board postponed the announcement of the disciplines for the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games, President Rolland emphasised “the genuine historical step for our sport if the decision to include Coastal rowing in the Olympic programme should be positive. It would put on us an immense responsibility, the responsibility to deliver. Whatever the outcome of the decision would be, we are convinced with the huge potential of the discipline.”

Chair of the Events Commission, Eva Szanto, presented the “top strategic priority” that is the Strategic Event and Calendar Review, being officially launched this week and focusing on ensuring that Classic Rowing events stay relevant, attractive, sustainable, and commercially viable. “If we do not address our challenges, we will lose relevance in the sports’ landscape, mentioned President Rolland. We have collectively the responsibility to provide solutions.”

Future of Olympic rowing
World Rowing Ordinary Congress, Credit World Rowing

Stuart Orr, Freshwater Lead at WWF, was also present to discuss the evolution of the WWF and World Rowing Strategic Alliance. Executive Director Vincent Gaillard announced that it was decided to re-energise the “Clean Water” partnership between both entities; to allow for more effective and tangible actions on the ground.

Presentations from the next hosts of the World Rowing Championships were acknowledged by the Congress. The next World Rowing Championships will be held in St Catharines, Canada in 2024 and in Shanghai, China in 2025.

Six elections were held for Chairs of the World Rowing Commissions : Guin Batten as Chair of the Coastal Rowing Commission, Mathias Binder as Chair of the Equipment and Technology Commission, Filip Ljubicic as Chair of the Indoor Rowing Commission, Juergen Steinacker as Chair at the Sports Medicine Commission, Jacomine Ravensbergen as Chair of the Gender Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Cross-Commission. Finally, the new Chair of the Youth Rowing Commission will be Axel Muller from Belgium, replacing the long-serving Algirdas Raslanas of Lithuania, who received a standing ovation from the Congress.

World Rowing admitted two new member federations – Oman and Papua New Guinea. 159 member federations are now affiliated to the organisation. The Asian Rowing Federation was also admitted as a recognised Continental Rowing Confederation.

The relevant documents can be found here.

To re-watch the 2023 World Rowing Ordinary Congress, click here.


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