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Gig Championships 'will become more elite'

The chairman of the Cornish Pilot Gig Association has suggested that the World Championships will become a more elite competition in the future.

Shane Sullivan was on the islands last weekend with the CPGA's exhibition of its online heritage project Pulling Together The Past.

He told Radio Scilly that the sport’s growth means the championships will inevitably move in a slightly different direction as a restriction on the number of gigs comes into force next year.

He said: "There’s change afoot obviously looking at the format of the event here, which is driven by logistics and management and shipping etc. It just can't carry on as it is because of the growth in the sport. We’re up to 80 odd clubs now, we had another 8 join us this year, another 20 boats been built in two year’s time… the more people join, the more people want to row and come to the Scillies. They’ve all heard about it here. How that happens I don’t know but we’re doing our best."

Shane also revealed that the sport is growing further afield, with interest from a number of organisations outside the UK, including in Italy and Wales as well as the Netherlands. The CPGA is talking to these organisations about the possibility of other championship events to complement the Scilly weekend.

Meanwhile, he said that the current World Championships may no longer be open to all when the new rules come into play.

"Everyone can potentially come and row here - your casual weekend rowers, your recreational rowers right up to your elite rowers. That’s very unusual. So what’s happening now is it's moving more from a festival of rowing maybe to a true elite championship, which maybe that’s the way it has to go. If you’re looking to cut numbers down, how do you do it otherwise? "But we don’t want to forget the recreational rowers, those are the ones that paint the boats, keep the clubs going, we’re looking at how we can do something for those people as well."


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