Closely linked to the sea sporty essence of the Principality, one of the most anticipated challenges come back to the Monegasque waters. Conceived in 2004 and started the following year the Prince Albert II Challenge, under the High Patronage of the Sovereign Prince, represents a true flagship of the Société Nautique de Monaco which saw more than five hundred participants from all corners in fifteen editions.
The incoming regatta, at its sixteenth edition, that will take place on the last weekend of this month, the 27th and the 28th November 2021, promised to be a rowing roaring game as announced during the international press conference held at Monaco Nautical Company’s headquarters on Monday morning the 15th November 2021. Nineteen teams will compete flexing their muscles for maximum endurance. A parade of Olympic and World champions from main sport tests will slide on the sea surface to celebrate the very final stage after the Championnat du Monde d’Aviron de Mer (World Sea Rowing Championship).
New rules will liven up this regatta following the steps of what happened in 2019, the last challenge played in terms of time, bypassing the 2020 pandemic. This year, in fact, all members of the participating teams from fourteen nationalities will be made of different clubs’ skilled rowers and with mixed combination of two men, two women and a coxswain. Crew members will be asked then to face different stages of competition in the two-day race: Solo Rowing Man & Woman, Mixed Double and Mixed Four.
A tough test with many variables in view of reaching the podium and receiving a monetary incentive on the total result achieved, from a minimum of 1,000 EUR up to 5,000 EUR for the top five classified.
All this to make it even more fulfilling by the will of the Comité d’Organisation du Challenge (Organizing Committee of the Challenge) that will count also on the valuable collaboration of trained volunteers.
But what motivates the expectations? HelloMonaco collected some anticipations within the special meeting for the press.
“We have put in place a great job of communication and recruitment in order to gather the best rowers on the European stage”, pointed out Mathias Raymond (M.R.), new President of the Société Nautique de Monaco and Olympic rower – “the brand new format has the main purpose of putting together champions who have never played in the same team or used to competing alone, to increase the sporting spirit and the gender equity after a long period of forced distancing”, he added.
HelloMonaco: What will mark the 2021 Prince Albert II Challenge?
M.R.: There will be different challenges to face. First of all, this year’s test will put even more emphasis on athletes’ adaptability to all external elements, starting from the unpredictable weather conditions for which we have already prepared a series of possible scenarios. Coastal Rowing implies then additional skills like the difference between running in a stadium or in the mountains.
“The 2021 Prince Albert II Challenge will be a special one in the history of Rowing benefitting from 95 athletes of great technical preparation including 2012, 2016 and 2020 Olympic champions”, underlined Roland Weill, Executive Director of the Challenge.
Monaco will be represented by SNM Monaco and Mon Team Côte d’Azur which involves three Olympians, notably Quentin Antognelli fresh from his participation to Tokyo 2020, plus some European and World champions. See-Club Luzern, the last edition winning team from Switzerland, will try to maintain the pole position. The award-winning Itsasoko Arraun / Aix Les Bains and France Team will compete for France. DLF Chiusi, Italmix, Santo Stefano, SC Armida and The Crazy Mix will try to keep high the Italian flag while El Campello, Team Filippi, Olympic Barcelona / Nautic Tarragona will hold the Spanish and Catalan side. The Tyrian Club will show the best of the British Rowing tradition. Denmark (Danske Studenters), Poland (Warsaw Team), the Netherlands Team and Ukraine (Concorde Team) will follow the challenging stream.
This Challenge has always been a point of pride in the history of Monaco and for the Princely Family. H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco is particularly attached to this discipline which, not surprisingly, was the favourite sport of His mother’s grandparents, the Kellys, and a special souvenir of their Olympic achievements. Coastal Rowing is therefore a fundamental element of the Monegasque heritage, following its development in the step with the new technology that has finally conceived non-sinkable crafts over the last few decades.
A win-win circumstance that led to the creation of more than twenty clubs in the PACA region and to a great evolution worldwide. Besides the precious cooperation with Monaco’s Mairie and the Gouvernement Princier, the 2021 challenge will be even more environmentally friendly through the already established partnership with the Oceanographic Museum & Institute and The Animal Fund (TAF) Association.
With this background the Prince Albert II Challenge is ready to offer a breathtaking show in the best Monaco’s tradition adding one more step to the rising quality of Coastal Rowing for a full recognition as Olympic discipline, hopefully by 2028.
To know more about Prince Albert II Challenge please visit: www.cpa2.mc
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