Olympic medallists confirmed for 2012 Billy Webb Race - 19/09/2012This year’s Aon Billy Webb Race on the Whanganui River will be a real crowd-pleaser, with four of New Zealand’s 2012 London Olympics rowing gold medallists in the starting line-up.
The organisers have confirmed 2012 gold medallists Mahe Drysdale, Eric Murray, Nathan Cohen and Joe Sullivan will take part in the event on December 9.
“We’re thrilled that so many of our Olympians will be competing in this year’s race,” Bob Evans, Regatta Manager, said.
“It’s been such an exciting year for New Zealand rowing and it’s fantastic that four of the five gold medallists will be supporting our event. Unfortunately, Hamish Bond is unable to attend due to a prior engagement but we also have interest from two international rowers at this stage. This is going to be a really exciting race as Nathan and Eric have both beaten Mahe in the past.
“We also have a great line-up for the women’s race, including Australian Kim Crow who won a silver medal in the double and bronze in the single at the Olympics. Kim is very excited about racing on the Whanganui River. She will be looking to Ian Wright for coaching tips on the Whanganui River as he coached her in Australia. Kim will race against members of the New Zealand women’s quad - Eve MacFarlane, Fi Bourke and Sarah Gray are confirmed starters and other New Zealand summer squad members will contest the Friday sprints and the winner will race in the main event on Sunday as the ‘Wild Card’.
“We’re also pleased to welcome Aon Insurance Brokers on board as naming sponsor. Aon has a history of supporting New Zealand rowing, including the New Zealand Eight in 2011/12, as well as being the naming sponsor for the Maadi Cup Regatta. Aon’s local office personnel, and Nick Kaspers of the Manawatu/Wanganui area, are very excited about the event.”
Other major sponsors are Wanganui.com, Wanganui Chronicle, Mediaworks – More FM, NZ Lion Foundation and NZ Community Trust.
Wanganui District Council Community and Environment Committee Chair Cr Philippa Baker-Hogan said the Billy Webb Race and associated events will be a highlight on Wanganui’s calendar.
“We have seen huge crowds for previous Billy Webb events so imagine the excitement this year with so many Olympians competing,” Cr Baker-Hogan said.
“This is going to be a fantastic weekend for Wanganui, with three days of rowing attracting people from throughout New Zealand. As well as the opportunity to see our top rowers in action, it will be a chance to celebrate New Zealand rowing’s success at the London Olympics and I know many people will want to be part of that.”
The programme for the weekend of rowing kicks off on Friday, December 7, with the Friday night sprints featuring the New Zealand summer squad and Wanganui rowers, Ben Hammond, Sarah Gray, and Chris Harris. This will be followed by a Dinner of Champions, a public fundraising dinner to support our next bunch of local up-and-coming Olympians and other high performance athletes.
On Saturday, December 8, Wanganui hosts the Jury Cup which involves rowing clubs from all over the North Island and upper South Island, including the New Zealand summer squad.
The Aon Billy Webb Race takes place on Sunday, December 9, and includes the men’s and women’s races.
There will also be a Corporate Eights Race. This year they will race heats during the Jury Cup and race the finals at the Billy Webb event.
“We have a lot of interest in the Corporate Eights race and it’s a great team bonding activity,” Barb Saunders said.
“We can help get two experienced rowers and training for you so we encourage Wanganui businesses and organisations to sign up to be part of this exciting weekend of rowing.”
If your business or organisation is interested in training assistance, contact Barb Saunders at firstname.lastname@example.org.