Rowing at Lake Club Kolkata

Main activity of the Club is rowing. The Club has a number of boats of different classes Of Late fibre glass boats, lighter than wooden boats have been procured from best in class manufacturers. Rowing activities are usually confined in morning from 6 to 8.30 A.M. and in the evening from 3 to 6 P.M. A number of Intra-Club Regattas are held throughout the year as a preparation for major events. Since 1974 the Club is organizing School Regatta for boys and girls to enthuse the youngsters to rowing.

Timing : 6 A.M.- 10 A.M. (Morning Session) and 3 P.M. – 6 P.M. (Evening Session)

Rowing at Lake Club

In 1935 the Club was affiliated to the Amateur Rowing Association of the East (ARAE). The A.R.A.E. annual regatta is the most reputed Inter-Club Competition in East Asia till date. In the very first year of participation Alma Latif and A. Sengupta (Budda) won the Venebles Bowl Trophy in Pair Oars against CRC by a quarter of a length in a thrilling finish. In the other two events, sculler R.P. Chandra lost to CRC and our Coxed Fours won the loser’s event beating Rangoon Boat Club and our Club lifted the “Burma Bowl”.

Inter-Club Regatta amongst the rowing clubs around Rabindra Sarobar was introduced in 1938. Sir R. N. Mukherjee donated a handsome challenge Cup for the winning club, well known as the “Head of the Lake Trophy”. The Lake Club won the senior fours, senior and junior sculls earning the honour of Champion Club in the very first year. Sir John Anderson, the then Governor of Bengal presided over the historic regatta. 1938 ended with a rare achievement for the Lake Club when K.C. Sen (Bhaya) won the Macklin Sculls, the first Indian to do so and also stroked the winning crew in Willingdon Coxed Fours Trophy, heralding a new era in the supremacy of rowing. In 1952, Chandrajit Basumullick and Monish Sarkar teaming together annexed the “Veneable Bowl” Trophy for pairs in ARAE Regatta followed by a straight win in Macklin Scull by A.N. Bose in 1953. In 1954 emerged the champion single sculler Sam Medora who won Macklin Sculls 6 times in the ARAE Regattas held in Madras, Karachi, Colombo and Calcutta between 1954 and 1961, an unsurpassed record. This was followed by a matchless winning of Willingdon Trophy for Fours by A.K. Chatterjee (Lala), Sam Medora, K.C. Padhe and J. Chowdhury coxed by Mr. C.M. Gupta in 1965. The Lake Club was admitted as a centre for ARAE annual Regatta in 1968. Bright youngsters took over in 1968. A wonderful combination of Suman Dumra, Ashok Mehta, R.S. Bugga, Chandan Roy, M.E. Khan with Bisu Sen as Cox won the Willingdon Fours in 4 consecutive ARAE Regattas held in Calcutta, Colombo, Poona and Madras. Kamal Datta, D.N. Bose and Saumitra Kumar were also crews in “Willingdon Fours” and “Veneble Bowl”. Between 1935 and 1991, the Club won the Hooghly Cup for Team Championship (instituted in 1956) 7 times, Macklin Sculls 13 times, Venebles Bowl for Pairs 8 times and Willingdon Fours 8 times, Mr. A.K. Chatterjee (Gigi),G. Chowdhury, M. Menon and K. Bhowmik coxed by Mr. N. Majumder (was later adjudged the best cox) won the Willingdon Trophy once again in 1988. Mr. Rajdeep Duttagupta won the Macklin Sculls in 1989. Macklin Sculls was again won by Tarun Mitra (Cheema) in 1993.

In ARAE, 1999, Lake Club became the overall runner-up. Gurpreet Singh Dhillon and Shakil Ahmed won the silver medal in Macklin Sculls and won Bronze in Open Men’s Fours, participated by Shakil Ahmed, Gurpreet Singh Dhillon, Rakesh Samanta and Sk. Bapi, coxed by Biswajit Das.

In 2001, the Club once again won the Willingdon Fours with Shakeel Ahmed (stroke), Gurpreet Singh Dhillon (3), Jahar Roy(2), Priyankur Kulkarni (Bow) with Somen Sarkar as cox, Gurpreet Singh Dhillon stroked brilliantly all the way to annex Macklin Scull, a feat par excellence.

In ARAE, 2003, the Club won Fours, Pairs, Scull and Double Sculls. Shakil Ahmed (Stroke), Gurpreet Singh (3), Arun T. Paul (2) and Priyankur Kulkarni (Bow) won the Willingdon Fours, Veneble Bowl Pairs won by Arun T. Paul (Stroke) and Gurpreet Singh (Bow), Phadnis Double Scull, Arun T. Paul (Stroke) and Gurpreet Singh (Bow) and Gupreet won the Macklin Scull. Gurpreet set up a record by winning Fours, Pairs, Scull and Double Scull in ARAE.

In 2004, the Club won the Hooghly Cup after winning all the events i.e. Macklin Scull, Veneble Bowl, Willingdon Fours and Phadnis Double Scull. While Shakil Ahmed (Stroke), Arun T. Paul (3), Gurpreet Singh Dhillon (2) and Shiv Kumar Singh (Bow) won the Willingdon Fours, Gurpreet Singh (Bow) and Arun T. Paul (Stroke) won the Veneble Bowl Pairs. Arun T. Paul (Stroke) and Gurpreet Singh (Bow) won “Phadnis” Double Scull. Arun T. Paul won the Macklin Scull. Arun also set up a similar record like Gurpreet by winning all the four main events in ARAE.

In 2005, the Club won Willingdon Fours, Veneble Bowl Pairs and Phadnis Double Sculls represented by Shakil Ahmed, Gurpreet Singh, Arun T. Paul and Shiv Kumar Singh. The Club won the Hooghly Cup, repeating the feat achieved in 2004.

Our Club won the Hooghly cup again in 2011 with our Men’s Fours Crew represented by Mr. Baldev Singh (Bow), Mr. Junith Sengupta (2), Mr. Jayprakash Singh (3), Mr. Shakeel Ahmed (Stroke) and Ms Rupa Mondal (Cox) winning the Willingdon Fours and the Women Pairs represented by Ms Moitrayee Banerjee and Ms Priya Mukherjee winning the gold. In 2015-2016 the Lake Club became the overall runner up in ARAE.

Competitive rowing confined to Inter-Club Regattas got a new reorientation with the formation of West Bengal Rowing Association in 1974 and Rowing Federation of India (RFI) in 1976. Rowing received its due recognition from Central and State Governments as also from the Olympic Association of India and the International Rowing Federation (FISA).

In the sphere of organization and administration also the Club members took the bold initiative in forming both the State Association and the Indian Federation and later in 1982 in forming the Asian Rowing Federation. Mr. S.C. Sen (Koiloo), a Past Secretary of the Club was elected the first President of the State Association and also the Rowing Federation of India.

Mr. G.C. Ghose, another Past President of the Club and the Rowing Federation of India was elected as the first General Secretary and Treasurer of the Asian Rowing Federation. He was presented with the Medallion of Honour by the International Rowing Federation (FISA) for excellence in organization of rowing events in the 1Xth Asian Games (Asiad’82) and was also awarded the “Asiad-Jyoti” by the President of India on January 26, 1984.

Mr. K.P. Singh Deo, an active oarsman of the Club, succeeded Mr. Ghose as President of RFI and was elected the first President of the Asian Rowing Federation. He also represented the Asian Countries in the FISA Council.

It goes to the credit of the Club that Mr. K.P. Singh Deo, Mr. Subrato Datta, Mr. S.N. Medora, Mr. Ashok Mehta and Mr. Rupam Karmakar qualified themselves as International Umpires, proving their acumen in the World and Asian Championships. Quite a few of our members distinguished themselves in the National and International levels in their respective domains.

Mr. Ashok Mehta also was National Coach for Indian Rowing Team for two consecutive years in 2002 and 2003.

With the introduction of the State and the National Rowing Championships, oarsmen of calibre represented the State in many National Championships and helped bringing laurels to the Club. Ladies did not lag behind. They took active interest in rowing all along. Women’s National Championships was started in 1984 and thereafter in the State in 1985. Since then the girls won the Coxed Fours, Pairs-oars and single sculls in a number of State and National Championships, adding to the glory to rowing of the Club. Late Sudeshna Mitra (Nee Mukherjee) had left her mark in the Club as the Champion Oarsperson winning the Fours and Pairs in National, State Championships, Head of the Lake and ARAE Regattas. In recent past our girls have done us proud in many State and National level Regattas and also in ARAEs held over the years. Significant achievers such as Maitrayee Banerjee, Priya Mukherjee, Aishawriya Krishnan and Mayurakshi Mukherjee deserve a special mention as they have held the Club flag high in Women’s rowing in multiple regattas.

The Club has been organizing School Regatta since 1973 with a view to imparting basic training in Rowing to School students in and around Kolkata. The School Regatta has today become one of the most important and certainly the largest single event in rowing in Asia. As many as 50 crews on an average from various schools in Kolkata as well as from outside State Boundaries battle it out on the Club Waters for the coveted trophies during the weeklong championship trophies, namely “Alma Trophy” for the boys and “S.C. Chakraborty Trophy” for the girls.

The School Regatta is today recognized by the Rowing Federation of India (RFI). The Regatta has been given the status of National event by the Rowing Federation of India. The Regatta is now being sponsored by the Mahindra Group.

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