Rowing on Bosphorus latest popular trend
Rowing in Istanbul’s Golden Horn has become the new sports trend in Turkey’s biggest metropolis, with a number of people willing to join an outdoor activity rather than staying indoors following the coronavirus pandemic.
“The growth rate of this sport has increased by five times through the pandemic,” Fırat Fırat, a rowing instructor at Haliç Rowing Club, said on April 24.
Many came and went throughout the pandemic to row during the last two years, but nowadays the club has some 300 active athletes, some amateurs and some professionals, between the ages of 12 and 70.
“The number of our athletes appears to be growing in the near future,” Fırat estimated.
The first goal of the club is to “engrain a sports culture into participants,” because rowing is a tough sport and “needs strict disciple.”
“Coming here at 5 a.m. for practice is not really easy. To do this in summers and winters, one should indeed be willing to do it,” Fırat noted.
The club is open every day of the week, with morning practices lasting from 5 a.m. to 11 a.m. The evening training sessions are between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.
After being instructed, the rowers take their seats and float on the waters of the Marmara Sea.
When asked about the benefits people gain from this sport, Fırat wagged his finger at “scoliosis,” a sideways curvature of the spine.
“Doctors recommend rowing to those who suffer scoliosis as the first rule of the sport is to stand upright,” Fırat highlighted.
Arthur Bozacıoğlu has been a rower for nine months. “I have had no backaches since then,” he expressed.
Seher Karayel, 27-year-old, is an athlete from the national team. “I started rowing as a hobby four years ago. Now I train for six days a week,” she said.
According to official data, the first rowing races in the Bosphorus were held in the 16th century following the development of the Ottoman Navy. The first international rowing federation in the world was formed in 1892. The sport was added to the Olympics in 1896.