The beautiful rising sun over Lake Victoria signals yet another virgin day of life. Indeed a new lease of life, as the birds of all nature sit and sing atop elevated tree planks enjoying their early Sunday morning melodies.
As I gently step foot down the undulating land, my eyes fast notice special white boats besides the calm shoreline waters at Kisubi beach, about 1 kilometer off Kampala – Entebbe Highway.
I later witness a lanky gentleman, as composed as a cucumber. Minutes later, he starts to yell instructions to a group of individuals whose boats are handsomely floating on the crystal clear waters of Africa’s greatest water body.
In my minds’ eye, I conclude, he is the right person I have come to meet. Jim Flood, 72, is a veteran British senior rower, who is actively involved in the sport as a FISA (International Rowing Body) instructor as well as a world master’s active rower.
That was just the commencement of the second day that Flood is in the country to train Ugandan rowers, coaches and instructors from the different clubs.
“It is a pleasure to be here once again”, he salutes me, with a broad smile. The firm handshake ironically never sends shock signals but rather, an assurance he needs me around him and my mission at hand.
Jim is currently conducting a FISA Level two coaching course for over 10 instructors. “Uganda needs more technical staff in the rowing sport. These will help put up structures (of course with right management and inspirational leadership) and scout for more rowers” , Jim opens up to me.
As Uganda prepares to host the East and Central Rowing championships (6th – 9th at Kisubi beach) Jim Flood is excited about the enormous talent in the country.
“I am particularly impressed by the girls. They are energetic and only need polishing to be the next world stars in rowing”, Jim, beaming with a smile says.
He however cautions, the concerned authorities have to put up the right structures to spot and groom talent from the grass roots.
“Programmes have to be put in place to identify and nurture the discovered talents. Many of the sport enthusiasts will help to attract sponsors to the sport as Government also gives a helping hand”, he adds.
Jim calls for more involvement of clubs into the sport and continuous competitions (regattas). “Surely, there is no substitute for race experience. Clubs are crucial here. Even if it is recreational rowing, It will still help out the rowers for a continuous lifeline on the waters”, Jim, a world masters’ champion advises.
Flood believes rowers are specially endowed with talent to execute the sport much as special training and foods enhance stamina, endurance and power.
“Technique matters a lot in this sport. Individuals with a great oxygen transfer system, a high tolerance to lactic acid and those with a strong will to perform well will always perform well in rowing”, he signs off as he rushes to attend to to his students.
What a passionate and diligent soul of the sport. Special Kudos.
Who is Jim Flood?
Born 72 years ago, Jim Flood started rowing as late as 19 years. He is a current World Rowing master champion in a 4 scull boat (along with Tonny Rose, Peter Taylor and another colleague), having won the title on River Rhine in Germany 3 years ago. He also participated at the Nottingham national championships.
He is an engineer by profession. He is a graduate from Durham University and quit active rowing for close to 20 years to concentrate on his employment.
He is a FISA accredited rowing instructor and a member of the British Rowing Federation.