Otago dominates regatta

Rowers competing in the University of Otago’s 150th anniversary regatta line up for the men’s...
Rowers competing in the University of Otago’s 150th anniversary regatta line up for the men’s eight 5km race on Otago Harbour yesterday morning. PHOTO: GERARD O’BRIEN
The hosts' dominance has not dampened their visitors' experience.

The University of Otago secured both the men's and women's titles in its 150th anniversary rowing regatta yesterday.

Both eights powered away from the St Leonards Yacht Club yesterday morning to claim resounding victories in the 5km race.

The men finished 36 seconds ahead of China's Shanghai Jiaotong University, while the women came in 27 seconds ahead of Japan's Keio University.

That followed Thursday's 2km triumph at Lake Ruataniwha, clinching both gold medals, beforelast night's 250m sprints.

Those sprints capped the regatta, which drew plenty of praise from the international visitors.

St Petersburg State University (Russia) crew member Igor Kanashin said his team had enjoyed Dunedin.

He had been impressed by the facilities and praised the volunteers who had run the event.

It had also been a great chance to see the quality of crews - China and Japan also sending teams.

"It's a great opportunity to see the level," the 20-year-old oriental studies student said.

"We know New Zealand is one of the leaders of international rowing.

"It's a great opportunity to see the level and to share some of our experience and they share some experience with us."

He said the interaction between the crews had been the highlight of the regatta.

Rowing in New Zealand had been enjoyable, although the conditions were a little different.

The mountain air at Lake Ruataniwha had been difficult to get used to.

Rowing on the harbour was also a new experience.

"We don't row in the sea water too much.

"We have channels and rivers in St Petersburg.

"So the water there isn't salt, it's a little bit harder, but I think it's better for fitness."

Kanashin added his admiration for the OUSA aquatic centre, where the University rowing club is based.

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