On 2 April rowers from more than 10 countries will gather in Budapest, the pearl of the Danube, to take part in the sixth edition of the Budapest Cup Regatta.
The event has grown rapidly from 2011, when it was first held. This year 64 crews from 10 countries – including Serbia, Germany, Austria, Italy, Poland, Netherlands, Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary and Great Britain – will line up to race the 4,500m course along the Danube.
The head race forms part of the 26th Count Istvan Szechenyi Memorial Regatta and was set up to kickstart head racing in Hungary after a period of several decades without any such competitions.
The event is hosted by Danubius National Boat Club, the last survivor of 17 rowing clubs which used to be based on Margaret Island.
The entry list includes a crew formed of Italian all-stars racing as a composite of Canottieri Minicino, Canottieri San Cristoforo, Canottieri Napoli and Canottieri Posilippo. The composite includes Olympians Marco Penna and Marios Palmisano.
Meanwhile a men’s 8 from Thames Rowing Club in London, which recently finished 11th out of 360 boats at the Head of the River Race in London, will also head to the starting line at Obuda Island. The foreign entries face formidable local opposition in the shape of the 2015 winners Gyor Rowing Club and a junior Hungarian crew which finished 37th at the Head of the River.
Other entries include world indoor para-rowing champion Szabolcs Szokolics and visually-impared rowers from SC Amida, Torino, Italy.
The Budapest Cup is the second leg of of the Capital Cup series, a joint regional initiative, which also involves regattas in Vienna and Zagreb.
The organisers also hope that the Budapest Cup can help raise money for two causes. The first is close to home; the Danubius club is in urgent need of major renovation and is looking for support to preserve this last bastion of Margaret Island rowing. Meanwhile the regatta has also partnered with UNICEF to raise funds to support children impacted by the turmoil in the Middle East and the regional migrant crisis. You can donate online at: crowdfunding.justgiving.com/BudapestCupRegatta.
Photo by: Benedek Bőr