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90 years of Regatta festival: Alumni recall past stories

COEP alumni gathered at Boat Club to witness the training and penultimate day show of the 90th Regatta festival to be held on March 1.

pune Updated: Mar 11, 2018 14:32 IST
Ashish Phadnis
Ashish Phadnis
Hindustan Times, Pune
boat club,coep,alumni
The 90th Regatta festival to be held on March 11.(Pratham Gokhale/HT Photo)

It was a day of nostalgia for the alumni of College of Engineering, Pune (COEP) who gathered at Boat Club to witness the training and penultimate day show of the 90th Regatta festival to be held on March 11.

“Regatta and Boat Club taught us how to organise an event, work day and night for months together, build a team and execute the plans. These qualities helped us throughout our lives and we are proud to be part of the 90-year-old legacy,” said a former student of COEP.

Ashish Kulkarni, who was general secretary of COEP in 1987, said that he is attending the event after 31 years. Kulkarni was a participant in the then Regatta and later on also handled the organisational responsibilities.“During our times, it was quite different. The biggest change I noticed is the water level that has gone down after breaking the bund of Bund Garden. However, the overall enthusiasm towards the event is much more than what we used to have,” he said.

“In the late 80s, the boats used in Regatta were clean cut ones, while now they are shell boats. In fibre boats, stability reduces, but speed increases, which makes it more challenging to navigate the boats,” added Kulkarni.

Another veteran, VR Joglekar, who was the general secretary in the 1967 batch, was single scull winner and also part of the team which won the inter-university junior and senior championship that year. Later on, he was also appointed as an umpire for the rowing event at the 1982 Asian Games in New Delhi.

“During our times, the options were limited. The wooden boats would have several problems and were heavy. They required more physical fitness. I remember, we had made an aluminium boat for the racing four event. It was a kind of novelty during the time. Later, fibre material took over and no such attempt was made,” said Joglekar.

Meanwhile, the current batch of students said they were proud to be a part of the legacy. “Only two engineering colleges across India have such a facility and nowhere else has there been such an event going on for 90 years. So we want to make most of it,” said a second year metallurgy student Siddharth Adhikari.

“We found the rowing technique quite fascinating and we feel proud to be part of it,” said Nihal Thakur, a second year material science student.

Cleaning of river

The Mula river is quite polluted near the Sangam bridge as nearby factories release their waste into the river without any processing. Moreover, ample amount of water hyacinth makes it difficult for the college students to train for Regatta. Every year the students clean up their part of the river and put a net near the bridge so that the water remains clean for the big show. This year, however, they have put bamboo sticks as the nets put up last year failed to serve the purpose.This year, Jeevitnadi, a living river foundation, will also be supporting the cause.

Jeevitnadi is an organisation comprising individuals from diverse professional fields who are passionate about environment conservation.

Event details

The 90th Regatta festival will begin at 4:30 pm on March 10.Abhay Wagh, director, directorate of technical education, Maharashtra, will be the chief guest. Robert John, director and chief executive, Amphenol; Rustom Taraporevala, director, enterprise quality (EQ) technologic and actress Rajashree Deshpande will also be present.

First Published: Mar 11, 2018 14:25 IST