More than 250 parents, guests and friends of nine outstanding New South Wales junior and Under-23 rowers gathered forces to raise much-needed funds for their upcoming World Championship campaigns.
This year’s “Support the Crew” dinner was held at Saint Andrew’s College within the University of Sydney on Saturday evening.
Australian Olympic President and special guest speaker Mr John Coates AC said he was delighted to support our young rowers as they strive to represent their country at senior level in the future.
“We are certain to have a great deal of success with our senior rowers at London later next month, and we hope that dinners such as these that raise money for young athletes to compete overseas will provide the motivation for them to represent their country at a higher level in the near future,” Mr Coates said.
In an informative update of the 2012 Games, Mr Coates says Australia will be pushing to be among the top five nations on the medal count, sending a strong team of 400 athletes with more than 10% of this contingent male and female rowers.
Australia finished sixth on the Gold medal tally and going one better in London is the aim of the Australian Olympic Committee, Mr Coates said.
Guests were also entertained by Master of Ceremonies Stephanie Brantz, who braved the inclement weather just hours before the dinner to cover the Sydney University victory over Easts at Woollahra Oval for ABC Television.
Stephanie interviewed a wonderful panel of former Olympians including the golden girl of track and field, the inspirational Jane Fleming, and dual Olympic diver, Alex Croak, as well as aspiring Olympian Ed Jenkins, the current captain of the Australian Rugby Seven’s team. Sevens rugby becomes an Olympic sport at the 2016 Games to be held in Rio de Janiero.
The focus of the night however was for the rowers and the third centralised fundraising initiative of its kind in NSW, Rowing NSW CEO Christian Renford said "it is a wonderful opportunity to show off our Australian representatives and display the sense of team spirit and camaraderie that exists within NSW at the moment"
Rowing NSW CEO Christian Renford called all of the Under-23 and Junior rowers present at the dinner to the main stage for a warm reception from the audience.
He then took the opportunity to thank the parents, friends and supporters of the rowers, as well as extending his gratitude to the New South Wales Institute of Sport (NSWIS) and the Bromley Trust for their continued support of young rowers throughout the State.
Seated at the various tables throughout the hall were respected Olympic officials such as Rowing Australia Director John Boultbee AO and past members of Australian U/23 and Junior teams including Richard Allsop, Cameron Girdlestone and Thomas Sacre. Several families and their friends made the trip to Sydney from rural areas such as the Kinross Wolaroi school in Orange, northern New South Wales.
The evening concluded with a live auction from Lachie Daddo, with several auction items including three-days away in a luxury Palm Beach property, kindly donated by Di Edwards and LJ Hooker, fetching thousands of dollars.
To see all the photos from the 2012 Support the Crew Fundraiser click here