New canoe racing base to be complete by December

26 May, 2017

Work has commenced on the $2 million Canoe Racing New Zealand High Performance Centre on the shores of Lake Karāpiro.

A decision made seven years ago would see the sports top athletes relocate their training base to Waipa.

Making the move from Auckland is a High Performance Sport NZ initiative to build on the resources both Rowing and Cycling NZ already have in place in Cambridge. The High Performance Sport Centre for Canoe Racing NZ at Lake Karapiro will be shared with the Cambridge Yacht Club.

Having everything centralised is a bonus for canoe racing and chief executive Mark Weatherall is convinced Cambridge is the ideal place.

"As a sport we considered a number of venues around NZ but in the end you just couldn't go past [Lake] Karāpiro and the Cambridge area for what it has to offer." said Weatherall.  

With the sport infrastructure already in place with dieticians, phycologists, training facilities Canoe Racing NZ is looking to leverage of these experts.

"We have already made a start with dieticians travelling to Auckland assisting our team, but eventually we will all be based in Cambridge.

He said Canoe racing has transformed from a campaign based around the success of double gold medallist Lisa Carrington to a programme now including 20 athletes.

The new centre due to be completed in December will be "all about the athletes".

The new facility will allow New Zealand's elite and emerging paddlers access to the range of high-performance services operating in the area, with Bike NZ and Tri NZ now based at the Avantidrome in Cambridge and Rowing NZ long established at Karapiro. The administrative side of the sport will be based at the Avantidrome, but the centre will contain storage for canoes along with a meeting room for coaches and a warm up room.

The move to Cambridge will take around 12 months before the whole squad is domiciled in the Cambridge area.

"We will move slowly as athletes and staff make the transition."

On completion of the new centre, Weatherall is expecting an immediate use of the facility.

"Just how that looks is unclear but will possibly be weekend training but once the transition from Auckland has taken place it will be used every day."

The facility will also house the Cambridge Yacht Club,Young Mariners, and the Karapiro Kayak Racing Club.

- Waikato Times

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