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Manatee-Sarasota hosting 2017 world rowing championships

By Rick Catlin, Islander Reporter

The International Federation of Rowing announced Sept. 1 that Manatee and Sarasota counties will host the 2017 World Rowing Championships.

The announcement was made at this year’s world championships in South Korea. The vote of the governing body of the federation was unanimous.

More than 1,500 athletes and coaches are expected to attend, along with 100,000 spectators. The championships will be held in late September.

The events will be held at Nathan Benderson Park, 2500 Honore Blvd., Sarasota. The venue, which includes covered stands for spectators, is under construction.

Manatee County Commissioner Carol Whitmore, who chairs the Manatee County Tourist Development Council that has worked in conjunction with the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau to obtain the event, said, “It’s welcome news for all of us in Manatee County.”

Whitmore said spectators and athletes will fill local hotel rooms and visit area attractions, including Anna Maria Island.

“Everyone involved in obtaining the championships is to be congratulated,” she said. “It will help diversify our tourism, and it shows our efforts to promote sports events in east Manatee County are succeeding. I’m excited,” she said.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott said in a news release it was a “great day for Florida” to receive the invitation to host the event and the games would spread the news about Florida and its attractions “around the world.”

BACVB executive director Elliott Falcione said during the next four years, the Sarasota-Bradenton area will have the rare opportunity to “showcase globally how beautiful our destination is to visit.

“It is truly great to see how two communities can jointly set a goal and accomplish that goal, by working in a diligent and unselfish manner. We believe that this type of event will no doubt generate future business and real estate opportunities in our community that is vital to our future economy; that’s what makes this accomplished objective so special,” he said.

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