Rowing: NZ in line for more top rowing on back of 'exceptional' event

New Zealand is expected to host World Cup regattas and more international rowing events when the International Rowing Federation initiates a revamp of its international programme next year.

General secretary Matt Smith said Fisa had conducted a survey to find out what the sport needed to do to remodel its image.

The organisation was considering major changes to the World Cup schedule and recognised the need to make it more global to develop the sport.

The expectation for more top rowing to be hosted in New Zealand comes on the back of an impressive world championships at Lake Karapiro.

"We have been very impressed with what the organisers have done and it has been a fantastic championships," Smith said.

"A lot of people have said it has been the best ever world championships."

Administration director Tony Popplewell believes more major international events could be held in New Zealand within the next five years.

An expanded World Cup series could lead to regattas being held jointly in Australia and New Zealand, but it would need to be organised in a different way because of the cost.

"There could be an opportunity to bring out rowers and provide them with boats here," Popplewell said.

"It is a huge cost for countries coming to a major international rowing event in New Zealand because of the cost of accommodation, transport and the movement of boats.

"European countries are not used to budgeting for this cost. In Europe, they just have to travel by road for about 300km to a regatta."

Popplewell has been given an indication by officials that if Rowing NZ applied to host another world championships, its bid would be looked on favourably by Fisa.

"We could host another world championships in another 15 to 20 years," he said.

The Slovenian delegation that is hosting next year's championships in Bled had praise for the Karapiro event and told Popplewell this year's championships had set a benchmark.

Popplewell had also had glowing reports from rowers, spectators and officials from other teams.

This year's event was much different from when it was last held in New Zealand, in 1978.

"It has been more of an event than just a regatta," he said.

"We acknowledged that we are not close to a city and realised we had to provide something else to supplement the regatta.

"When spectators and rowers left their hotels in the morning, they have got to feel comfortable during the day."

A key to the success of the regatta had been the 600 volunteers who guided spectators to car parks, directed them to the park-and-ride shuttle stop, sold programmes and answered queries.

Rowing Australia life member David Yates said the facilities at Karapiro were as good as anything he had seen.

Great Britain single sculler Alan Campbell, who has competed at world championships since 2003, said it was the best event he had been to during that time.

"The volunteers have been exceptional and have helped to make it an exceptional world championships," he said.

"They have given up so much of their own time to make sure everything is in place."

The championships attracted a total of 66,771 spectators over eight days, including 15,243 on the final day yesterday, organisers announced.


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