To the champs

Sideline Sid
Sports correspondant & historian

With the World Rowing Championships (WRC) just over the hill at Lake Karapiro, I decided some months ago that I needed to be part of one of the few world sporting championships to be held in New Zealand.

After a visit to the WRC website, I put my name forward to be one of the numerous volunteers that would be on hand to stage what was then hoped would be the ‘best ever’ World Rowing Championships.

Putting my name forward as a Media Assistant, I was delighted when appointed to the nearly 30 strong volunteer media team.

After the first visit to Karapiro for accreditation a week before the opening ceremony, we got our first taste of what the media team would be doing at the media training day a few days out from race day one.

That was the first day that I took the back route through Horahora, where the Park n Ride buses would be stationed. ‘WOW’ was the only way to describe coming around a corner to see the racecourse laid out in front of my eyes.

From the 2000 metre start all the way to the finish in the distance were six lanes of buoys. As you got closer to race headquarters, the magnificent temporary grandstand loomed into view.

The stand that dominated the spectator area rose up from grassy banks like a colossus. During one of my reporter duty forays I asked an official how many people the stand held. They said 9,999 as a 10,000 person licensed grandstand would require a heap more red tape.

The multitude of media were based in the magnificent Don Rowlands Centre, named after one of the legends of rowing in New Zealand. Situated within a stones throw of the finish line we literally had the best seat in the house.

As with any major world championships, there was a battery of local and overseas media on hand in the media centre. With around 250 media accredited, there was also a large band of the Mighty River Crew, as the volunteers were know as, on hand in the Don Rowlands Centre.

One of the busiest places in the media building was the information desk in the foyer. A never-ending series of requests were handled with efficiency and always with a smile.

Entering the media room, the first point of call each day was the race information table. Here, there was literally everything that you needed to know about the championships.

The most informative information for me was the media guide and supplement, which detailed a myriad of background information. On arrival each day the first task was to pick up the day’s race schedule and the accompanying individual starters in each race sheets.

The view as you walked down the entrance stairs, was row upon row of tables and chairs each with a power point for the obligatory laptops that were the media tools of trade.

While the majority of the volunteer media team was on hand to assist and manage the accredited media, I was a member of the six person new media team.

Our duties were to file daily stories and information on the WRC website. Also situated with us at the front of the media centre with the best view in the house was the FISA media team.

In addition to scouting out, then writing and posting human interest stories on the website, our team looked after the U-Tube, Twitter and Facebook components on the website.

To an old fogey like me U-Tube, Twitter and Facebook were a complete mystery. However, my young colleagues, who were mainly uni students, took to it like a duck to water and kept pushing out the social media information.

As Sideline Sid is just part of the way through his story - there will be part two later in the week.

Seeya at the Game.


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