Lord Coe praises WRJC volunteers
Following the World Rowing Junior Championships at Dorney Lake on Sunday, Lord Coe has led the tributes to the tireless energy of the WRJC volunteers.
Over 500 volunteers attended Eton Dorney over the five days of racing, and ensured that nearly 600 young athletes and thousands of spectators had the best possible experience of the 2012 Olympic venue.
The hard work and dedication of these volunteers contributed to the resounding success of the championships both on and off the water, and Lord Coe – Olympic gold-medallist and Chairman of the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games – was insistent that volunteers are the lifeblood of any large-scale sporting event.
“The difference between a good and a great Games is really down to the quality of the volunteers,” he said.
“Volunteers, who are able to think for themselves on the spot and make decisions that make the difference between a good day and a bad day for competitors.
“For me, it’s really the defining group of people for a Games.
“[I would like] to thank all the volunteers here that have made this such a spectacular event, and who have placed the athletes at the centre of the canvas.”
With the 2011 championships acting as a test event for London 2012, LOCOG provided a number of volunteers for the event via its Gamesmaker programme.
This meant that many of the volunteers were entirely new to the sport of rowing, and were working alongside experienced British Rowing volunteers who have supported a host of previous regattas and events.
However, the integration of these two distinct sets of volunteers worked seamlessly; with both sets working together to ensure that – despite the occasionally inclement weather – the event was a complete success.
“Our volunteers have been just fantastic and we absolutely could not do without them,” said LOCOG Rowing Manager Ann Louise Morgan.
“We have some amazing rowing volunteers with great rowing experience already in this country, which puts us in a really strong position moving into next year.
“We also have new people who have come in with and without rowing experience, who have been able to work alongside experienced people. They have been amazing.”
British Rowing chairman Di Ellis, who was at Eton Dorney for the duration of the championships, also expressed her gratitude to the funding partners and the hundreds of volunteers who contributed to the success of the event.
“Before the World Rowing Junior Championships I said the words ‘Rowing is Ready’,” she said, “but I could not have dreamt that you; the volunteers, staff, and contractors would surpass even my belief in your ability and put on such an outstanding event.
“Plaudits for the fantastic organisation of the 2011 WRJC have come from athletes, coaches, National Federations, and Lord Coe – and they’re richly deserved for what has been a most exceptional team.
“On behalf of our sport, I offer my gratitude to our funding partners and particularly to you, our volunteers, for your commitment, contribution, constant friendliness, and determination to always go that extra mile to ensure that young athletes from around the world had the best possible experience.
“I hope that you enjoyed yourselves and had fun, alongside all the hard work. You did your country proud.”
During the Championships, Ellis presented British Rowing’s Medals of Honour to Ron Paterson, past Treasurer and Peter Morrison a past Chairman of the FISA Master’s Commission. Morrison and Ian Fisher, who was also presented with his FISA umpires’ retirement badge by Patrick Rombaut Chairman of the FISA Umpires Commission, are seen in the photograph below.