Experts give World Masters Rowing Regatta location the thumbs up

IN a fleeting visit, representatives from the International Federation of Rowing Associations inspected the Lake Wendouree precinct ahead of the World Masters Rowing Regatta in October. 

Flying in from Switzerland, FISA representatives arrived in Ballarat on Friday to see the precinct in use during the Wendouree-Ballarat Regatta, attend meetings and the unveiling of new pontoons – all before the 16,000-kilometre flight back home on Sunday. 

Unfortunately, strong winds and scorching heat caused the regatta to be cancelled on Sunday morning, but that did not affect FISA’s precinct inspection. 

World Masters Rowing Regatta organising committee chairman Marinus Van Onselen also attended the inspection and said FISA had been pleased with the facilities.

“FISA has walked away very happy with progress for the organisation of the games and they were very impressed with the new pontoons,” Van Onselen said.

“In October we will have a significant tent on the point area, which will be a focal point for the regatta to give competitors and people a place to congregate.

“It’s more about coming together.

“There have been a number of Olympians who have been invited, including some who rowed in the 1956 Olympics.”

Eight pontoons installed in December for the international regatta were officially opened by City of Ballarat mayor Joshua Morris on Saturday. 

The pontoons will cater for timing, landing of boats and presentations for the regatta. 

The opening comes as part of a revamp of the precinct, which includes an overhauled judges’ box, new starting gates and upgrades of viewing points.

The World Rowing Masters Regatta is expected to attract  thousands of local and international competitors aged between 27 and ‘able to get in a boat’ to compete in a range of events between October 9 and 12.