Thursday, 22 December 2011

Road to London 2012 (II): The Eton Dorney Rowing Centre

25 miles Est of London is Dorney Lake, closed to Windsor Castle and home of the Eton Rowing Club. At its lake is the Eton Dorney Rowing Centre, which has been reestructured for the Olympic Games to welcome the Rowing and Canoeing Sprint venues. With a principal channel 2.200 metres long and a secondary return channel, the surroundings have been upgraded to let both spectators and paddlers move comfortably around the area and water course. The main change with past Olympic Games will be the eight lanes course, instead of the traditional nine ones. This already was a complaining topic last season because it breaks a long term tradition and lets less places for those who expected being qualified for the Games. The organizers calls to a standarization with other sports like swimming and athletics, were only 8 people go through the finals and that deserves the Olympic Diploma.
Arguments apart, the course was already tested for Sprint Canoeing three months ago at the Pre-Olympic test, with some of the greatest champions compiting. Although it was a very nice competition, some worries started to appear. In Olympic Champion Ken Wallace's words: "The venue itself is not a purpose built Olympic course but a borrowed course from Eton College. It is extremely open with no trees surrounding the course and is very subject to windy conditions predominantly cross winds".

Nevertheless, let's hope that these aspects don't become a reality and during the Games, to be held from August 6th to 11th, we will only talk about an outstanding event, were all qualified paddlers will show their best after four years of dreaming and, of course, hard training. Elite Kayak will be alert about all the news concerning this Games, including the last qualification opportunities at the continental championships next Spring.

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