THE local rowing fraternity will be out in force on the Shing Mun River this weekend for the Hong Kong championships, which have attracted 14 teams from five countries. Japan has sent the largest contingent with five clubs being represented - Aichi, Nagano, Sapporo, Toyama University and the Kanazawa Ladies Rowing Club. There are four teams from the Philippines, three from China, one from Myanmar and two school teams from Sri Lanka - the Royal College Rowing Club and the St Thomas College crew. Hong Kong's top rowers, including East Asian Games and Asian Championship gold medallist Ho Kim-fai, will also be in action and are strongly fancied to win their respective events. ''I don't really know the opposition. All the names are very unfamiliar but the Hubei and Liaoning crews are all very young and they could have very good rowers in their team,'' Ho said. ''I will be out there trying my best.'' The Hong Kong event is popular with budding young rowers, both local and from neighbouring countries, because it is one of the few international regattas in Asia which caters for club and school crews. ''Rowing is expanding rapidly in Asia, but there is a shortage of opportunity for club and school crews to compete internationally,'' said Robert Wilson, president of the Hong Kong Amateur Rowing Association.