Perry happy despite ill wind

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 11 March, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 11 March, 2000, 12:00am

Hong Kong rowers were almost blown off course in Sydney - but national coach Chris Perry was far from unhappy.

The SAR squad had to put up with sub-standard racing conditions after being invited to the Australian National Championships at the much-criticised 2000 Olympics venue this week.

Perry confirmed that some lanes at the multi-million dollar course were faster than others as the protective banking affords some lanes better protection from the cross winds than others.

Australian crews seeking selection for the Olympic squad were given the faster lanes, while foreign crews were allocated the less favourable ones.

Asian Games silver medallist Fenella Ng Gar-loc was one of the first to suffer.

'In her first race, Fenella was put in the outside lane - which was the most windy - and could not qualify for the main semi-final,' explained Perry.

'Then on Wednesday, she competed in the minor races but was again in the windy lane. Her boat was blown to one side at the start and she lost about 10 seconds in the first 500 metres.' But Perry refused to be downhearted. 'The main purpose is to try the Olympic course, get the feeling of all the facilities and see where we stand in terms of our early season preparation,' he said.

'Taking part is still proving very valuable to our crews. Our objective in coming here was not to win anything as we knew it was too early in the season for us.

'Despite the problems, Fenella is going very well for this time of year and is better than she was at this time last year. She is fitter and stronger.'