The first weekend of the Livingstone Sports Festival made it’s mark in history, drawing in crowds that wanted to be part of this spectacular event.
The 5th Zambezi International Regatta was the first sporting event of the festival. It was organised by Mr. Richard Fishlock, a former Olympic athlete and oxford alumnus, Mr. Peter Jones, chairman of Zambian Tourism Authority and Mrs.Lee-Anne Singh from Image promotions This was the second overall event, after His Majesty The Litunga’s royal visit to Livingstone.
The Oxford, Cambridge and South African alumni teams arrived a few days ahead of the event, giving themselves time to rig the three 30 feet long boats, which were brought up to Zambia from South Africa by Henriette Vermaak and Sanpat Coetzee. For many of the rowers, this was not only their first time to row on the mighty Zambezi River, but also their first time in Zambia. Their early arrivals gave them the opportunity to mentally and physically prepare themselves to row amongst the animals of the Zambezi, crocodiles, hippos and swimming elephants. The rowers also had a chance to truly embrace Zambian culture by witnessing the Kupuwana ceremony, where some of the men wore a lishushu in support of the event.
His Majesty Litunga Lubosi Imwiko II flagged of the regatta on Saturday 14th September. The event consisted of eleven races, four of which included Zambian teams. This was the first time that Zambian rowers have been involved in the regatta, with two Trident College students participating and winning the Row Zambezi race. The big winners of the day were the South African Alumni team who won every race they participated in except the rafting challenge, which was won by the Zambian team, beating Oxford and Cambridge. It was not a surprise that South Africa took home the most medals as their team had the highest amount of Olympians, 8 of the overall 12 Olympians. Oxford beat Cambridge in the Fishlock 2000m and Lascelles Zambezi Ewer 2000m races.
The regatta ended with a prizing giving presented by His Majesty Litunga Lubosi Imwiko II. The winning teams had a chance to be in the presence of The Litunga and as a sign of respect the Ladies opted to wear their university jackets and chitenges when receiving their prizes.
On Sunday the three alumni teams participated in a whitewater rafting challenge of the first seven rapids. This was again won by South Africa.