The Charles Regatta manager is sponsoring 28 Ukrainian national team rowers and coaches to compete in this year’s race on the Charles River after the athletes were displaced from their country during the Russian invasion.
The world’s biggest three-day rowing competition later this month is expected to host 11,000 competitors from 27 countries, including Australia, Guatemala, Uganda, South Africa and New Zealand.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February displaced athletes and coaches from their country, but they were able to continue training in other locations in Europe, concentrated in Bulgaria and Italy.
Ukrainian competitors are entered in four different racing categories at this year’s regatta: men’s and women’s championship eights, men’s championship doubles and a junior four. Sixteen of these athletes represented Ukraine at the World Rowing Championships in Racice, Czech Republic, last week.
“Ukraine has a great and proud history in rowing, and it was especially important for us, with all they’ve been through back home, to include our world rowing teammates in this year’s regatta.” , said Fred Schoch, executive director of the Charles Regatta. “They are an inspiration to all of us.”
Earlier this summer, the regatta was approached by Andrii Ivanchuk, born in Ukraine and coach of the Simmons University rowing team. Ivanchuk offered to bring the athletes to this year’s event.
Over the past few months, he has been in close communication with the junior and senior national teams. The Ukrainian team worked to support themselves and their families while training outside of Ukraine.
“It’s so important to me to support Ukraine by helping them come to Head Of The Charles this year,” Ivanchuk said.
Ivanchuk himself rowed as a member of the Ukrainian junior and senior national teams from 2001 to 2014, and has kept in touch with friends and former teammates who are still training for the Ukrainian national team.
Delta Air Lines, sponsor of the Charles Regatta manager, has provided airfare for athletes to Boston, and the Cambridge Tourist Board is helping to provide hotel rooms for athletes near the hippodrome.
The regatta awaits tens of thousands of spectators on the shores of the 3-mile course, which runs from the Boston University Boathouse to Herter Park in Brighton.
The Head Of The Charles Regatta runs from October 21-23.
In 2019, the last year the full regatta was held, an economic analysis determined that it generated over $88 million in economic impact for the Bay State.
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