For immediate release
Plovdiv, 17 September 2018

The World Rowing Federation, FISA, held its 2018 Ordinary Congress today, following the successful conclusion of the 2018 World Rowing Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

FISA President Jean-Christophe Rolland opened the Congress and presented his report to the delegates, referencing the visit of IOC President Thomas Bach to the World Rowing Championships in Plovdiv and the important process ahead for FISA regarding decisions to be taken on the 2024 Olympic programme. This was followed by reports from the Executive Committee Members, Chairs of the specialist Commissions and Continental Representatives.

The Congress delegates’ voting cards were focussed then on the election of seven office-bearers of the federation. Four Commission chairs were re-elected to their positions:

  • Kim Fai Ho (HKG), Para Rowing Commission Chair
  • Patricia Lambert (BEL), Event Promotion Commission Chair
  • Rosie Mayglothling (GBR), Competitive Commission Chair
  • Patrick Rombaut (BEL), Umpire Commission Chair

New chairs were elected to the Events and Masters Rowing Commissions as the incumbents, Mike Tanner and Tone Pahle did not stand for re-election. Tanner reached the age limit under the FISA Statutes and Pahle chose to pass the baton to a new chair after a very successful run as chair. In a vote contested by four candidates, Eva Szanto of Hungary was elected the Chair of the Events Commission, and Ronald Chen (USA) was elected unopposed as Chair of the Masters Rowing Commission.

After 25 years in the role of FISA Treasurer, Mike Williams (GBR), stepped down and is replaced by Dutch Olympian Gerritjan Eggenkamp with unanimous support by the Congress. Tributes were paid to Pahle, Williams and Tanner for their respective and considerable contributions to FISA. Williams and Tanner were appointed Honorary Council Members by the Congress. 

The FISA Council then convened to vote on their nominee for the Commissions Chair to serve on the Executive Committee to replace Tanner. The Congress delegates approved through vote the Council’s nominee Rosie Mayglothling.

The Council announced the re-appointed co-opted member Masakuni Hosobuchi (JPN), as well as the following Continental Representatives for a two-year term:

Africa:    Khaled Zain El Din (EGY)

Asia:       Liu Aijie (CHN)

Europe:   Ryszard Stadniuk (POL)

Oceania: Lee Spear (NZL)

The Americas position will remain vacant and FISA invited suggestions from member federations in the Americas for suitable candidates.

FISA Executive Director Matt Smith updated the Congress on the status of the recently-launched Strategic Events Attribution Process that will see all World Rowing events for the 2021 to 2024 period as well as the 2025 and 2026 World Rowing Championships attributed at the 2019 Congress. Smith praised the hard work that national federations have put in during the initial phase of confidential expressions of interest, consulting with their government and local partners to secure support for a long-term events strategy. The response from national federations has been very positive and FISA now finds itself in the fortunate position of having to distribute event hosting opportunities between a large number of willing event hosts. 


With two years to go to the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and less than a year to the first Olympic and Paralympic qualification at the 2019 World Rowing Championships in Linz-Ottensheim, Austria, the Council announced the attribution the following qualification regattas:

  • Africa: Tunis (TUN), 3-6 October 2019
  • Asia and Oceania: Chungju (KOR), April 2020
  • Americas: Rio de Janeiro (BRA), 2-5 April 2020

The European Olympic and Paralympic qualification had already been attributed to Varese (ITA) from 27-29 April 2020, and the Final Olympic Qualification Regatta will take place in Lucerne (SUI) from 17-20 May 2020. The Final Paralympic Qualification Regatta will be held in Gavirate (ITA) from 8-10 May 2020.

FISA also announced that the 2019 World Rowing Indoor Championships will take place in Long Beach, California on 24 February 2019, following on from the successful 2018 World Rowing Indoor Championships that was held in Alexandria, VA, USA earlier this year.

Two new national members were welcomed into FISA:

  • Kiribati
  • Lesotho

The total number of member national rowing federations is now 155.

At the conclusion of the Congress, FISA staged a National Federations Conference at which the delegates discussed the updates on the lightweight and para-rowing review projects and an update on FISA’s Olympic Programme strategy. Rolland expressed the view of the FISA Council that it was appropriate now to develop different alternatives to the lightweight categories on future Olympic programmes, and indicated that FISA is currently investigating the option of coastal rowing as a possible alternative for inclusion in the Olympic programme. The FISA proposal for the 2024 Olympic programme will be decided by the member federation delegates at the 2020 FISA Extraordinary Congress to take place in London from 14 to 17 October 2020 and forwarded to the IOC Executive Board for its decision on December 2020.

The 2019 FISA Ordinary Congress will be held on Monday 2 September 2019 in Linz-Ottensheim, Austria.


It is possible to re-watch the Congress here