Row Like A Girl: Asmaa Al-Zohairy

Asmaa El-Zohairy

We all remember singing row row row your boat as children, right? Well, Asmaa Al-Zohairy certainly took this song to heart! She’s a rowing athlete and the founder of ROWIN, where she gives rowing classes in our very own Nile and in the North Coast during summer. We sat down with her to know all about her athletic journey.  

The Beginning 

Asmaa Al-Zohairy graduated with highest honors from the American University in Cairo with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications. She majored in TV and broadcast and minored in Psychology and Arabic. Upon graduation, she went on to pursue a career in fitness and sports. Along with managing Rowin, she’s also a fitness coach. In fact, it was her time at the gym that first got her into Rowing. 

Asmaa El-Zohairy
Asmaa Al-Zohairy photographed by Omar Zain

Before she took up rowing she was already running, cycling and doing cross training.

“For me, rowing was something that both intrigued and intimidated me.” 

 She tried it out after a lot of recommendations from gym colleagues who were ex-rowers. “From my second class, I just got hooked!” she said. 

Rowing with a view
Rowing with a view, by Omar Zain

“I love the scenery. From the Nile, you really get to see the city from a different perspective,” she said. 

“You get to see Cairo before all the noise and crowdedness hit, and you do so while exercising.”

“So, you finish your workout when the day is just starting. It really builds a healthy routine,” she continued. 

“Rowing builds a team spirit like no other. It has so many people in one boat feeling and breathing as one.”  

A month into rowing practice, Asmaa Al-Zohairy joined the women’s team to train for the national championship. 2 years in, she was breaking records and representing Egypt abroad.  At the end of 2018, Asmaa founded Rowin with a mission to make rowing more accessible to everyone and increase the popularity of water sports in general.


“We offer all ranges of rowing classes (from beginner to competitive) for all ages. We give them in a team building format,” she said. 

Rowing in the Nile
Rowing in the Nile, by Omar Attalah and Mahmoud Saad

Our signature class is called RowFit. It’s a rowing-based fitness class all about getting you fit for the water.

On Land- Rowin Classes
On Land Rowin Classes, by Mahmoud Saad

We’ve also included sister sports such as kayak and SUP (Stand Up Paddle). We offer all our water services at The Egyptian Sailing Federation in Manial along with two other locations on land in Maadi and New Cairo,” she said. 

At ROWIN, Asmaa has people signing up for classes in their late 20s and mid 30s. She gets both men and women subscribers equally. Asmaa herself started her rowing journey at 27 years old.  

Although this brought on some challenges Asmaa said “I just kept working on what I wanted. I didn’t lose focus, I can honestly say I work harder when I’m challenged. I was also lucky I had a good support system at the time.”

On Rowing Like A Girl  

 Known for her love of sports and competitiveness Asmaa’s family and friends admire how she pursues what she loves.

Asmaa El-Zohairy and friends
Asmaa Al-Zohairy and friends, by Omar Attalah and Mahmoud Saad

Asmaa understands however, that society isn’t easy on female athletes. When asked how she copes with this, she said “I don’t really have to cope with it.Once I put my head to something, I don’t care what society or people say. In the end, people will always have something to say.”

“Women have lived their lives trying to prove themselves to society, and they’ve proven time and time again that they’re capable of anything in a way that makes proving anyone wrong pointless.”

 “We have women’s names shining on the sports scene now more than ever, Hedaya Malak, Sara Samir, Farida Osman. I would even say they achieved all of this with half the support they deserve!” she continued.  

 As for what advice she would give to young girls wanting to pursue rowing, Asmaa Al-Zohairy said “Be in it for the journey and you might surprise yourself in the most beautiful way. You’ll feel empowered and stronger not just physically.”

“Going for what you want will build your character and introduce you to yourself in a pure, honest, way.”

 You can book your spot in ROWIN classes via What’s App through this number: 01140637023 or by sending them a direct message on Instagram. To stay updated on Asmaa‘s row row rowing to success, click here.  





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