The NSW Minister for Sport, Trade, Tourism and Major Events, the Honourable Stuart Ayres MP, unveiled a plaque today naming the complex the John Coates Pavilion.
“My involvement in Rowing started in my school days at Homebush Boys High and I never imagined back then I would receive such an honour at a world renowned venue like this one” Coates said. “Thank you to the Rowing and Canoeing communities for your support”
Minister Ayres congratulated Mr Coates saying “John has been involved with this venue since its inception and has watched it develop into the great facility it is today”.
“ SIRC is an outstanding success because of the partnership between Rowing and Canoeing, the New South Wales Government the Penrith Lakes Development Corporation and the community and it is fitting that the pavilion is named in John’s honour ” Mr Ayres said.
After his introduction to rowing at Homebush High, Coates, a coxswain, joined Sydney Rowing Club and then became President of the Australian Rowing Council and the Australian Rowing Manager at the Montreal Olympics in 1976. Montreal was the start of his long journey with the Olympic Movement.
Forty years later he is a Vice President of the International Olympic Committee, President of the International Court of Arbitration for Sport and President of the AOC, a position he has held since 1990.
The Regatta Centre gained world prominence as the venue for Olympic Rowing and Canoeing at the 2000 Olympic Games. Since then SIRC has hosted major international and Australian Rowing and Canoeing events including FISA World Cups in 2013, 2014 and the Sydney International Rowing Regatta in 2015.
“The Regatta Centre is an outstanding example of Olympic legacy and is regarded throughout the world as one of the best venues for international competition” Coates said. He praised successive state governments for their on-going financial support of the venue since the Sydney Games.
Minister Ayres, who is also the member for Penrith, said “SIRC is in continuous use not only for Rowing and Canoeing but is used for major sporting events, entertainment and community events including the annual Australia Day celebrations in the Penrith Community”.