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International Coach Outreach

Leander Club to host International Rowing Coach from Sri Lanka

As a curtain-raiser to its bicentenary celebrations next year Leander Club has invited a coach from Sri Lanka to witness its high-performance programme in action, learning skills that he can put to practical use in his own country, which is seeking to establish itself as a leading rowing nation in Asia.

Kushal Abhayaratne will arrive on Monday to spend a week with Leander’s coaching team. During his time in Henley he will shadow Director of Rowing Mark Banks, monitoring the training programme of the club’s elite athletes in their final preparation for the British Senior Championships in Nottingham (October 21-22).

The initiative is the result of a partnership between Leander Club, FISA (the World Rowing Federation), and British Rowing.

Abhayaratne was chosen from several international candidates according to key criteria: he comes from a Commonwealth nation which is steadily making its presence felt on the international rowing scene; he has already been exposed to national and continental competition; and he is a senior coach in the Sri Lankan system, recognized through an Olympic Solidarity Project as being a leading coach by FISA experts.


In order to get a better perspective of the Leander programme Abhayaratne will also visit other local rowing clubs as well as the River and Rowing Museum, the GB Training Lake in Caversham, and the Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre.

Abhayaratne will learn about the development of training plans at elite level, as well as details of strength and conditioning techniques, gearing for different conditions, and load targets for specific athletes and training sessions.


“We are very keen to make this work for Kushal, as well as British Rowing and FISA, who have all worked so hard to help bring this plan into fruition” said Leander’s Director of Rowing, Mark Banks.

“It’s a first step for all of us, but something we would like to repeat in the future assuming all goes well” he added.

“This is the first time a club has ever done this – Leander has a very good structure and Kushal has shown himself to be very serious” said Sheila Stephens-Desbans, Development Director of FISA, the World Rowing Federation.

Stephens-Desbans is responsible for the management and administration of FISA’s development programme, international training camps and coaching academy.

“Kushal was very engaged and we saw that he and his country hadd really demonstrated that they wanted to bridge the gap with the high performance side in Asia” she added.

“The ambitious and professional coaching team has inspired and enabled many promising athletes to achieve their dreams by bringing together talent from across the country” said Annamarie Phelps, Chairman of British Rowing.


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