New Zealand Rowing team in limbo over World Championships as Hurricane Irma eyes Florida

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The New Zealand Rowing Team is in limbo, waiting to see if the World Championships will go ahead in Sarasota, Florida later this month.

The NZ team has had to delay an advance party because the airport in Tampa is shut, but are hoping to fly out on Thursday.
Source: 1 NEWS

For the first time in 25 years the event will be held in the USA, but with Hurricane Irma set to make a direct hit on Florida's West Coast where the championships will be held there's now no guarantee that the city will be able to host it.

The New Zealand team has already had to delay an advance party because the airport in Tampa is shut but they're hoping the rest of the team will still be able to fly out on Thursday as planned.

"We're just taking it day by day. We're still at this stage going on Thursday but we'll have to see once the storm goes through what the damage is," said High Performance director Alan Cotter.

"Maybe our world body FISA will get involved and make some decisions about what they've heard and what's on the ground as far as what services are still available."

Cotter says in his long history with the sport there's never been circumstances like this so close to a World Championship event.

He says while there's not yet talk of cancellation, it has to be one of the things FISA is considering. 1,700 athletes are expected from around the world along with 40,000 spectators and 2,000 volunteers.

"You think of the number of volunteers they would have on the ground floor putting up marquees, doing things there and I'm sure they'll be thinking of their families first and their own homes before the world champs."

Preparation at the site in Sarasota has been put on hold as the city braces for Hurricane Irma.

More than 200 marquees need to be erected before the event begins on September 24 and there are expected to be considerable demands on accommodation and transport from participants.

NZ Rowing hopes to know more on Tuesday once the full extent of damage is known.

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