First preview chance for 2012 venue


Your first chance to see a world-class sporting event at one of London’s 2012 Olympic venues is next week, when the World Rowing Championships come to England for the first time in 20 years, and are staged at Dorney lake, Eton.

Rowing, of course, is among Britain’s most successful sports, providing a regular supply of medals at world and Olympic level, through the likes of Sir Steve Redgrave, Matthew Pinsent and Debbie Flood.

The World Rowing Championships’ opening ceremony will take place on Saturday August 19, as part of a lively evening of entertainment celebrating Britain’s rowing history.

Former Pop Idol winner Michelle McManus will be among the celebrity guests at the Opening Ceremony, which takes place from 6.30pm, and is hosted by actor and presenter Ted Robbins. Entry is free to everyone and the gates will open from late afternoon. Spectators can bring picnics or purchase food from stalls around the site.

During the evening there will be street performers and circus acts, music and dance, a colourful boat pageant and the ceremony will end with a spectacular firework display at around 9.15pm.

There is a designated Children and Family Area with a funfair and food outlets open throughout the championships. Entry to this area is free to enclosure and grandstand ticket holders. A nominal entry fee will be charged for others and there will be a small charge for the rides.

A land train will carry passengers around the venue and there will be face painting and magic on August 26-27.

Outlets selling a wide range of food and drink will be available in the main enclosure and the Children and Family Area throughout the championships. These will remain open for at least two hours after the end of the final race each day.

Heats will be raced from Sunday through to Wednesday with semi-finals on Thursday and Friday, and finals on the following Saturday and Sunday.

The venue has already proved popular with both athletes and spectators after a successful Rowing World Cup held in May last year.

On home water, Britain will be defending its titles in the men’s four and the women’s quad and is likely to be fielding a team of around 90 athletes.

Click here for media details of the 2006 World Rowing Championships.