Rowing organiser sees it all coming together

17:00, Sep 03 2010

The hosting of the world rowing championships is now so close to fruition that the event's chief executive feels like he can reach out and touch it – literally.

Tom Mayo said progress made on the site of the regatta at Lake Karapiro for the champs, which run from October 31-November 7, was highly visible from his office.

"It's been the most satisfying two weeks of my time in the job," Mayo said this week. "I've been able to stop working on a computer like I have for the the past 2 1/2 years while just imagining what it was going to look like. I look out there now and there's the weedeater working on the lake, concrete being laid for the paths, the finishing tower almost built, the grandstand being built ... it's feeling like it's actually happening."

Mayo said the organisation would be "kicking off another marketing campaign in two weeks" to publicise the event. "We're aware it's a busy marketplace, so we're going with six weeks to go."

Ticket sales already show hugely promising signs for a massive attendance. "We had just over 27,000 tickets sold – that's nice," Mayo said. "If someone told me that two years ago that's what we'd have at this stage I would've fallen off my chair."

He warned spectators planning to watch the racing to get in early. "Everyone in New Zealand says I'm going to buy my tickets later."

The first rowers will arrive in three weeks. "Then the travelling hordes will be coming through. Canada are going to Whanganui, Greece going to Tauranga, some teams are going to Taupo, some coming here. The organisation around them is getting complex, the demands more finite, but that's fine, we're set up to deal with that."

Mayo praised his staff and the volunteers working on preparation of the event.

"The volunteers are the engine room of the whole event. But there are jobs too that the demands require specialists. For example, resource consent and our park and ride for spectators, Karina [Weaver] has been working for two years on that. In 1978 people were happy to sit in a queue for five hours; we want to get them in and out in half an hour."

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Waikato Times