The Marlborough Girls College rowing team competes under the Wairau Rowing Club banner in Twizel.
The Wairau Rowing Club is grateful to still be able to compete in the South Island Rowing Championships, despite the country going red under Covid-19 protection settings.
The club was sending 82 rowers to the weekend regatta this weekend. Senior members as well as Marlborough Girls and Marlborough Boys colleges all compete under the Wairau banner.
Wairau Club captain Mark James said the January 28-29 tournament at Lake Ruataniwha near Twizel was strictly planned with Covid regulations in mind.
These restrictions meant athletes would be separated into “specific areas” with competitors unable to come into contact with other clubs, James said.
* Hamish Bond achieved perfection – then went in search of more Olympic gold
* Thousands expected at Twizel, but Covid concerns raised
* Rowing moves New Zealand Championships to Twizel
“We won’t touch them….shake hands, anything”.
He said rowers should also wear a wristband to show they were double vaccinated and a lanyard to enter their respective areas. These areas had a capacity limit of 100 people. No coffee or food concessions would be present on the property either.
He felt that the “regulations and layout of the grounds” had been “fantastically done”.
They had been “really, really lucky” to be able to take part in one of the “penultimate” regattas of the club’s rowing season.
Marlborough Boys College rowing chairman Justin Stevens said all the rowers “trained hard” for the South Island event.
Marlborough Girls College team coach Sean O’Neill said his team was “thrilled to have the chance” to race at Twizel “given all the cancellations that have occurred”.
It comes after a decision was made by Rowing New Zealand on Tuesday to move the National Rowing Championships in February from Lake Karāpiro to Lake Ruataniwha.
The Karāpiro Rowing Council felt they were no longer able to host the competition due to the demands of running events under the red light setting.
Rowing New Zealand and Wairau Rowing Club chairman Ivan Sutherland was hopeful the national tournament would continue with the change of venue, saying “who knows what is happening around the corner”.
He said it was “wonderful” that the South Island Rowing Championships were still taking place.
“The big one that’s in question is Maadi Cup, the national secondary school competition,” Sutherland said. This tournament was scheduled for March 28 to April 2 and would likely feature “over 2,000 athletes”.