The Maldives team.
1. Who is representing the Maldives in Korea?
Light weight man: Ibrahim Sharu-u(18yr)
Light weight woman: Fathimath Hasna Hassan(18yr)
Chief Coach: Natasha Howard
Assistant Coach: Sarumadh Bushry(21yr)
2. How long has rowing been established in the Maldives?
In 2010 one quad and one coach worked on Thinadhoo island. Money was raised in the UK and four coastal doubles and Natasha Howard were sent to Addu city in 2011 to set up a rowing club in that atoll. The athletes started rowing for the first time in September 2011 in Addu city.
3. What are your goals, challenges and hopes while you are here in South Korea?
Hasna – Being in South Korea is an exciting new experience which will enable me to learn new techniques + go faster. I wanted to row because I love the way it feels when the boat moves through the water and my grandmother used to row so I wanted to see what it was like.
Sarey – I want to learn how to coach my students. In the Maldives there are lots of very keen rowers but a big lack of coaches and I want to change that. I love all water sports and rowing is the first water sport that is available to everyone on the island and I wanted to be involved in that project.
Sharu-u – I like all sea sports and as soon as I heard about rowing and saw it during a presentation I thought I would like to try it. I loved it as soon as I went in boat. I would like to come 2nd or 3rd at the Olympic Qualification regatta. Also while I’m here I would like to learn as much as possible about the sport so that I can teach others back in the Maldives.
4. What do you like most about South Korea?
Hasna – the Mountains, cherry blossom, architecture and the very friendly people.
Sharu-u – We live on islands that are 2.4m high only so I find the scenery here amazing-mountains, lakes and the cold weather!
5. Conditions of rowing in Maldives?
We have 4 coastal doubles, 1 coastal single and 1 coastal quad. We row on the sea within the lagoon which is about 20x20km big, 169 students use these boats twice a week supported by 5 coaches – one from the UK and 4 from the island. It is 30 + all year round and because the lagoon is very sheltered in our area the sea is very calm.
6. Hasna and Sharu-u, what are your goals for next 5-10 years?
We would both like to continue rowing getting faster+stronger and to represent the Maldives at the Asian championships, World rowing championships and Olympics. This will help promote our sport in the Maldives.
7. What do you think of the other athletes at the event?
They are strong, fast, big and very friendly.
8. What would you like to get out of this event?
We are the first people ever to represent the Maldives at an international rowing event and want to take home with us as much information and knowledge as possible to help our country become good at this sport and compete successfully at an Olympic level.
9. What do your parents, friends and family think?
They are very proud of us and hope we will be successful and be good representatives of our country.
10. How do you like the food in South Korea?
Some is very good but it is very different from what we eat in the Maldives. We love the big range of fruit we can get here!
11. Miss. Natasha Howard, how did you get involved in coaching in the Maldives?
I rowed for the Great Britain Rowing team from 2005-2010 but sadly had to resign due to injury. I saw the advert to be a volunteer coach in the Maldives and as I had no ties thought it would be a great way to introduce the sport I love to others and hopefully inspire them to get involved in a brand new activity.
12. How long will you stay out there?
I was meant to be there for 6 months but am now looking at a year and if I can find a way of earning money I would like to stay longer.
13. What language do you speak in the Maldives?
14. What challenges do you face establishing rowing in the Maldives?
We have only just started so have only 6 boats which are stored under a tarpaulin in a municipal compound. We hope to get the help of the local council, community and businesses to build a proper boat house and find a way to support the local coaches so that the sport will continue when the overseas volunteers leave.