Top line-up: Attending a local rowing club fundraiser are Olympic medallists (from top) Mahe Drysdale, Juliette Haigh, Eric Murray and Storm Uru
Four Kiwi Olympic medallists are appearing at a fundraiser in Queenstown to boost the local rowing club.
The Wakatipu Rowing Club hosts London Olympics gold medallists Mahe Drysdale and Eric Murray and bronze winners Juliette Haigh and Storm Uru on October 5.
Organiser Wayne Foley says the club hopes to raise $25,000, along with community trust funding, to buy a water safety/coaching boat, a rescue boat and another quad.
“The club is absolutely elated that so many of the best rowers in the world are prepared to support our fundraising evening and give us the best shot at raising funds to buy plant and equipment for the upcoming rowing season.”
Foley says these are needed to train its members all at once on the water – student numbers have surged from 15, three years ago, to about 55.
“The ambition of the club is to not only have students engaged on the water but to succeed.
“We’ve been incredibly successful in the last two seasons – we’re not going to let that go lightly.”
Wakatipu High is now ranked tenth out of 122 schools in New Zealand for sculling, and last season won its first gold medal at the prestigious Maadi Cup schools’ regatta.
Auction items at the fundraiser will include three laps in a V8 supercar with motor racing ace Greg Murphy, a week’s accommodation at Foley’s Commonage Villas, a rare bottle of wine from event co-sponsor Peregrine Wines and a round of golf at The Hills with Drysdale.
Drysdale, who along with his colleagues will train local club members during their visit, says: “It’s always great to help out a small club like this when you can – they don’t get to see a lot of the top rowers as we’re all based in Cambridge.
“I got off the couch and went rowing after seeing Rob Waddell win in 2000 – there’s people that have inspired me and if I can do the same, that would be awesome.”
Drysdale says his main message will be that you can be pretty ordinary and still succeed at rowing if you work your butt off.
“Twelve years ago I was 116 kilos and it took me two hours 20 minutes to run a half-marathon so I wasn’t particularly special.”
MCs for the event – at sponsor Queenstown Resort College’s QRC Lodge – will be former charity rowing pair Brendan Quill and Craig ‘Ferg’ Ferguson.
New Wakatipu High principal Steve Hall, a former Halberg Trust chief executive, will also speak.
Tickets are $60 a head.
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