SPORTS

Nighttime rowing

Athens Olympics organizers Athens 2004 are considering introducing night rowing to avoid the strong winds that hit a test event last month. «We have had initial discussions on this and it is something we still have not fully developed,» an Athens 2004 official told Reuters. He said more consultations with the International Rowing Federation (FISA) and organizers of the canoe-kayak flatwater race, which will also be staged at the rowing center, would follow before a final decision is made. During last month’s world junior rowing championships at the Olympic venue, several crews capsized and organizers had to readjust the program to cope with the strong winds that disrupted several heats. Both FISA and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have backed the decision to construct the rowing complex at Schinias, east of the capital. IOC chief inspector Denis Oswald, a former Olympic rower and president of the FISA, told a German newspaper over the weekend that night races were an option for next year’s Games. «According to statistics, nine o’clock (p.m.) is the best time. But for this (night races), we have to examine the costs for lighting up the course,» Oswald told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. But the Athens 2004 official said television coverage was also an issue. «We have also talked about lights but that is an even more distant possibility and depends on many other factors including television coverage, because lighting will be very expensive if we want it to cover the needs of television,» he said. «The most likely scenario is stretching the competition to nine days (from eight) if necessary. At the junior world championships we proved we can quickly adapt to changes,» he said.