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Australian Rowing Championships & Australian Masters Rowing Championships Update

Please note this information will be reviewed on a monthly basis, with this version current as of Monday 19 October 2020.

Rowing Australia (RA) is currently working through key considerations and scenarios for both Australian Championship Regattas (ARC and AMRC) due to the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). This has been a very difficult time for all involved in the sport, including those running and preparing to run regattas for the sport at all levels.

RA hosts two National Regattas which draw competitors from right across Australia (and previously internationally).  It is of paramount concern to RA that we conduct safe and fair regattas for all.

The two National Regattas are:

Australian Rowing Championships
22-28 March 2021
Lake Barrington International Rowing Course, TAS
Australian Masters Rowing Championships
27-30 May 2021
Sydney International Regatta Centre, NSW

In addition to these two National Regattas, there are smaller regattas that involve national and international competition, for example:

U21 Trans-Tasman Regatta scheduled for Penrith (including competitors from New Zealand and Canada)

With the ongoing COVID-19 related uncertainty across Australia there are no guarantees that either or both of these National Regattas will proceed as planned. As the Federal and State/Territory Governments continue to direct the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are confronted with a very fluid situation not just for rowing but in all aspects of our lives and the broader community.  The intention of RA is to be as transparent as possible regarding the decision making process around the staging of these National Regattas.

Criteria for Assessing Events
In assessing whether to proceed with running a particular regatta, a number of criteria will be taken into consideration.

      • Health and Safety: First and foremost, the conducting of a regatta must not increase the health risk to either participants or the general population. In particular, consideration must be given to the fact that the staging of Australian Championship Regattas will by definition require interstate travel. We need to consider whether it is responsible for RA to ask people to travel interstate when such travel may include use of flights or other modes of transport which may otherwise be avoided.
      • Ability to compete: For an event to hold “Australian Championship” status, RA believes that rowers from all States/Territories must be able to participate. This means that if one State/Territory is restricted from participating in the regatta, whether due to travel or other local restrictions, then we may consider postponement or relocation of the event.
      • Preparation: From a competition integrity perspective, all athletes must have the ability to undertake on water training in their relevant boat type/s in the lead up to a National Championships.
      • Ability to travel: It is appreciated that there are some significant logistical hurdles to be navigated when competing in Australian Championship Regattas and that planning for such competitions requires time. RA’s position is that all participants are responsible for making their own travel arrangements to get to/from the regatta including the transport of boats. Included in this consideration will be if any quarantine requirement which may be in effect. While it may be possible to travel to the location of the regatta, interstate competitors may then be subject to a period of self-isolation (on arrival or on return home) which is impractical for athletes.
      • Ability of the host to conduct the regatta: Whilst the majority of the workforce for an Australian Championship Regatta is sourced from within the hosting state, there are requirements of some of the workforce to travel from around Australia, for example technical staff and RA qualified boat race officials.  If interstate travel is a barrier for this group of the workforce, then the required standard of competition officiating may not be able to be met.
      • Local restrictions: As different States/Territory’s move through their COVID-19 responses at different rates, there may be local considerations which mean that an Australian Championship Regatta cannot proceed in the usual way. An example might be a local restriction that limits gatherings to groups of no more than 500 people.

Process for Consideration

RA is making ongoing assessments of the feasibility of both Australian Championship Regattas taking into account the above criteria in conjunction with guidance from State/Territory and Federal Governments, Government Health Authorities and Events Tasmania (for the ARC), the RA Board, Event staff and the RA Chief Medical Officer as well as the relevant technical groups and the Regatta Host (where relevant). Regattas will be deemed to be going ahead until and unless otherwise notified on the Rowing Australia Corporate and Australian Rowing Championships websites.

By no later than 18 January 2021 for the ARC and 25 March 2021 for the AMRC, the status of that Regatta will be confirmed on the RA websites listed above. This communication will also note that RA reserves the right to postpone, relocate or cancel an Australian Championship Regatta subsequent to this advice, should it be necessary due to changing circumstances.

Finally, all members of the community should be discouraged from making any travel or other plans around regattas which involve non-refundable payments or deposits (RA has been advised that the Spirit of Tasmania will refund bookings or allow change of date if travel restrictions result in changes to the ARC). Unfortunately, participants will not be able to make a claim through RA insurance for any losses sustained as a result of RA postponing or cancelling a regatta.