When you first meet Virginia Mabaso, Development Coordinator at Rowing South Africa, there’s no mistaking that this lady is strong, fearless and passionate about rowing and the “Learn to Row Rural Programme”.

The indoor rowing development programme that continues to grow each year with the aim to transform indoor into a competitive, mass participation sport that identifies talent and transcends rowing across all ages, genders, disabilities and geographical locations.

RMB the official sponsor of the RMB Senior National Squad leading up to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, has been in partnership with RowSA since 2015 when RMB recognized the many touch points between rowing and banking.

Virginia continues to break all boundaries with the Learn to Row programme and her 12 years’ experience in rowing shows within the level of growth rowing has achieved in the past few years, seeing crews from the development programme row SA Nationals in April 2019.

Virginia is on the hunt for the next ‘Golden Stroke’ and we could say that she is close, at the recent St Andrews Ergo Regatta 2019, Umtata High School student Sibulele Mchiza participating in the JM U16 2000m category won gold at 6:55.09.

Not only is great talent being discovered through the Learn to Row programme, it also allows for Para-Indoor rowing development in the country. Virginia has been doing some amazing work with the clubs and municipalities around the country to adapt and make available the rowing chairs that are needed. The idea is to develop a South African Para Crew that can join Sandra Khumalo on an elite level.

Kudo’s to Virginia who also initiated a Rowing Equipment Drive in November 2018, which made it possible for the new clubs to be established through the equipment which was donated.

“In the end it’s not just about rowing,” says Virginia – “we provide more than just a competitive sport to many of the learners who take part in the Programme. For many we are helping them to be a part of something, creating communities, and a sense of belonging.”