Sharp Criticism following Sydney Disqualification
The first of the annual JB Sharp regattas was held last Sunday, with Sydney represented by a big turnout of juniors racing on the Glebe course. Despite a successful day for the club on the water, the regatta ended in controversy as the SRC men’s eight was disqualified from the final event for a breach of strict protocols enforced by regatta officials.
SRC was undoubtedly the best represented club at the first of the JB Sharp regattas of 2016, as a huge number of juniors entered the regatta, many of whom were enjoying their first ever race. The rowers and supporters were welcomed by the ever-hospitable Glebe Club and treated to fine conditions on the testing two furlong course in Blackwattle Bay.
The JB Sharp series has a strong focus on junior and novice rowing and provides a safe space for those just starting out in the sport. From numerous entries across the boys and girls novice races, Sydney was able to claim a couple of medals and a strong start to the pointscore competition held over the five regattas. The novice quad of Lucas Chabo, Alex Migdalious, Bradley Deng and Oscar Gullickson were narrow winners, while William Ma was impressive in taking out the novice scull.
The senior men also competed and won the open four comfortably, before taking to the water to race in the open eight. The crew finished a close second to Glebe and returned to the boating area disappointed, but proud of their efforts. These emotions however soon turned to anger as the crew was informed that regatta officials were considering disqualifying the Sydney boat on the basis that one of the crew members, Fiona Coates, was born a woman and this was “a men’s race”.
Spokesman for the regatta, Liam James, did not defend the decision, however strongly asserted the right of the organisers to make and enforce the rules as they saw fit. It is understood that avenues of appeal are currently being considered.
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