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Kiwi rowing success and huge effort from Canterbury schools helps 2011 Aon Maadi Cup to record entries

Wednesday 23 March 2011, 9:29AM

By Rowing New Zealand

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Action from last year's Aon Maadi Cup Regatta. This year more schools than ever before will be taking part.
Action from last year's Aon Maadi Cup Regatta. This year more schools than ever before will be taking part. Credit: Rowing New Zealand

CAMBRIDGE

The 2011 Aon Maadi Cup at Lake Karapiro next week will boast the biggest entry of any rowing regatta ever held in New Zealand – and that is despite the two Canterbury earthquakes which threatened to stop the sport in its tracks in the region just a few weeks ago.

Over 1,400 crews representing some 120 plus New Zealand schools will take part in this year’s regatta, which blasts off at Lake Karapiro next Monday (March 28th) and despite early fears, there will be a very healthy turnout indeed from the South Island and Canterbury in particular.

Many if not all rowing schools and clubs in the Christchurch area have been hugely affected by the first and second quakes – often resorting to a regular seven hour round trip to carry on with their training at Lake Ruataniwha in Twizel or at other areas of rowable water on the South Island.

Some teams have gone even further afield to keep up their efforts – Marian College crews were billeted full time to Tauranga Girls College some weeks ago and have been maintaining their studies and their training as they build towards the regatta.

“Simply getting to the regatta has meant plenty of lateral thinking and effort on the part of athletes, parents and school officials,” commented Canterbury Rowing Association’s John Wylie.

“These record entry figures represent an outstanding effort from everyone in the sport at school level. You hope for good numbers every year, especially with the world championships having happened here so recently, but events like the earthquakes have the potential to stop the sport in its tracks. It’s just great that so many schools, rowers and parents have responded to the huge problems of the earthquake so effectively.”

New Zealand Secondary Schools Rowing Association Executive Officer Andrew Carr-Smith also explained that interest in small boats – a discipline of the sport which New Zealand took ten medals at the Karapiro world championships last November – has helped boost entries significantly.

“The 2011 Aon Maadi Cup is going to be New Zealand's largest ever rowing regatta. There were 1409 crews entered at the close of entries, which is unprecedented. There are over 120 schools attending; the biggest turnout of schools ever. However, the number of pupils attending remains the same as recent years at roughly 1900.

“This suggests the inclusion of more small boats in the new programme of events has had the desired effect of both boosting entries and making the Aon Maadi Cup regatta accessible to a wider range of schools.”

Organisers have worked hard to ensure the regatta – which will be run on the very same course used at the world championships – is a high class event, with a rowing expo planned for the new Don Rowlands centre on the domain, various themed days and the usual colourful collection of school tents all set to add to the immense spectacle.