Otago University crews primed for international regatta

The crews are here and the boats are ready.

Now the weather needs to play ball and the wind, in particular, stay away.

All going well, the University of Otago's 150th anniversary international regatta will begin tomorrow morning.

If not, it will be delayed a day and races scheduled for tomorrow will be caught up on Friday.

Crews have travelled from afar for the three-race event, held on both Otago Harbour and Lake Ruataniwha.

In the men's races, the host crews will race St Petersburg State University (Russia), Shanghai Jiaotong University (China) and Kyoto University (Japan).

The women will compete with crews from Xi'An University (China) and Keio University (Japan).

It is a classy line-up and Otago University Rowing

Club manager Glen Sinclair said it was a big event to be hosting.

"Nothing of this calibre happens in New Zealand outside of probably hosting the world rowing champs.''

If conditions allow, the event will begin at 8am tomorrow with a 5km men's race from the St Leonards Yacht Club to the OUSA Aquatic Centre.

The women's race will follow at 8.30am.

A 2km race is scheduled for Thursday in Twizel, while a 250m sprint will be raced on Saturday in Dunedin.

However, it may be that tomorrow's racing is postponed to Friday morning and Saturday's is pushed forward to 5pm on Friday.

International racing is not new for the Otago rowers.

They regularly compete at regattas in China and the men have an annual exchange with St Petersburg State.

However, aside from the St Petersburg State races, racing at this level at home would be a new experience.

"Our guys are pretty nervous about it, that they're going to do well at home and in [the university's] 150th year.

"The medals for it, they're University of Otago medals with the 150th celebration.

"Our guys have seen those medals and they'll be pretty disappointed if they don't have anything but gold.''

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