Ballarat faces inspection ahead of world rowing regatta 

WORLD rowing officials will arrive in Ballarat in February to inspect the Lake Wendouree precinct in readiness for the 2014 World Rowing Masters Regatta.

FISA representatives will attend the Wendouree-Ballarat Rowing Regatta to “get the ball rolling” on the international regatta.

World Rowing Masters Regatta project manager Greg Longden said up to 1500 local and international oarsmen were expected to compete in the event next October.

“The primary focus at this stage is to attract international competitors,” Longden said.

“We had a presence at the World Rowing Masters Regatta in Varese this year.

“We are working to make it a safe, enjoyable and competitive regatta.” 

Longden said there would be a call for hundreds of volunteers and public notices would emerge in March after the FISA inspection. 

Local and international competitors can register their interest on the regatta website, where an event schedule has been published.

He said the World Rowing Masters Regatta budget was close to $1 million, which did not include infrastructure spending by the City of Ballarat.

Eight pontoons are currently being installed at the end of the rowing course for timing, landing of boats and presentations.

City of Ballarat city strategy general manager Natalie Reiter said the $400,000 project would be completed by the end of the week.

Longden said communications and timing equipment used at the Sydney International Rowing Regatta in March could be used for the Ballarat event.

Icy water temperatures and choppy conditions forced the abandonment of events at the Australian Masters Rowing Championships held at Lake Wendouree in May last year. 

Longden said there was no “immediate” contingency plan for bad weather conditions but officials would work pro-actively to monitor the circumstances. 

He said there would be four rescue boats plus marshalling boats.

Rowing events will be held in Nagambie and Melbourne during the week leading up to the regatta to target international competitors.

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