What is RFI
RFI stands for Rowing Federation of India
RFI’s Goals and Objectives
The Rowing Federation of India’s vision is to make the sport of Rowing popular in India. RFI also wants to prepare world class oarsmen to win medals for India at Asian and World levels. Its dream is also to take the sport to the various corners of India by promoting the sport for wider participation from grass root levels
Rowing, in its present form was brought to the Sub-Continent by the early British settlers. Rowing clubs sprung up in the main trading posts, wherever suitable stretches of water were found near their settlements. The first such club, The Calcutta Rowing Club, Calcutta was founded in 1858 followed by the Madras Boat Club, Madras in 1867, the Royal Connaught Boat Club, Pune in 1868, Karachi Boat Club, Karachi in 1923 and the Rangoon University Boat Club in 1923. Rowing remained an exclusive sport amongst a close-knit, elitist member circle among the British. Regular races were held round the year between local clubs with keen competition amongst its members. The standard of racing was quite high and travelers from England brought the latest trends and innovations in the sport to India. In 1933, the Amateur Rowing Association of the East (ARAE) was formed amongst clubs from the East and an annual regatta was organized in December every year. This event continues even today with a good racing and organizational standard amongst rowing clubs.
The need for National and International status for the sport in India was felt for a long time. Ten gentlemen from the Rowing Clubs of Calcutta and Madras formed themselves into an Association and the “Rowing Federation of India” (RFI) was born on August 30th, 1976. The National Status of the RFI opened the opportunity to be affiliated with the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and FISA, the International Rowing Federation. From here, the sport grew in popularity and status.
Due to the pioneering efforts of Shri K.P. Singh Deo, currently President-Emeritus of the RFI, rowing was included in the 1982 Asiad at Delhi for the first time. The rowing events were conducted at Ramgarh Lake in Jaipur. India was among the medal winners from there on. This was the launching pad for India to be noticed in the Asian and International rowing scene.
The same pioneering effort resulted in the formation of the Asian Rowing Federation (ARF). Three Indians namely Shri K.P Singh Deo, Late Shri Gopal Ghosh were the founder President and Secretary General of the ARF, respectively and they along with Mr. Subroto Datta were instrumental in the formation of the ARF. Indian rowers have been winning medals consistently in the “Asian Games” and “Asian Championships” since then.
Some of the other prominent administrators of the federation, during its initial difficult years, include Borun Chanda from Tamilnadu. A founder member of the RFI, Borun played a prominent role during and after the Asian Games 1982.
Mr. V.V.Deval from Maharastra and Mr. A.V.Narayan Reddy from Andhra Pradesh also contributed their mite in carrying forward the Federation with foresight and vision.
With the abundance of water ways, rivers, lakes and dams in India it is the vision of RFI to popularize rowing in India from current levels by encouraging more rowing centers and wider participation of the sport amongst larger sections of our people.