Beijing, China, October 26, 2021: The former President of the Asian Rowing Federation, Chinese entrepreneur and adventurer Wang Shi, has led a rowing team on an epic journey of the historical Grand Canal of China.
The team was comprised of 22 members of Deep Dive – a pioneering eco-friendly sports group set up by Wang – and took one month to complete the route. The rowers included entrepreneurs, musicians, lawyers, educators and cultural researchers.
The marathon row began at the Tongzhou Grand Canal Centre in Beijing on September 11 and finished in Ningbo – a co-host city of the 19th Asian Games Hangzhou 2022 – on October 13. It covered a distance of 1,300km and was the first attempt to row the Grand Canal of China in its 2,500-year history.
The journey took in 19 cities in six provinces, and the aim was to discover and promote the history and culture along the Grand Canal and to conduct a green campaign for nature and water by testing water samples for the World Wildlife Fund.
The rowing was completed in a variety of formats, mostly in quadruple sculls but also in eight, single and double sculls. Each day would begin by rowing the canal waterways in the morning to arrive in a new city and experience the history and culture of each location, before moving to the next city by bus.
Team member Ken Lee, a FISA international umpire, former ARF Secretary General and former FISA development consultant, said: “It was a fantastic experience to row in an artificial Grand Canal; it’s like climbing the Great Wall of China.”
He said the rowers were able to appreciate the wisdom and science behind creating the Grand Canal 2,500 years ago as it served as the lifeblood of ancient China.
Former ARF President Wang Shi founded the Shenzhen-based China Vanke Co. Ltd. real estate company in 1984 and is now honorary chairman. He is a passionate mountaineer and explorer as well as a champion for the environment.