The World Rowing Championships will go ahead as planned in Florida later this month after organisers said Hurricane Irma caused limited damage in the Sarasota-Bradenton area, where the event is due to be staged.
More than 900 athletes from 69 countries are due to take part in the event from September 24 to October 1 as the Championships return to the United States after a gap of 23 years.
Organising Committee Chair, US Congressman Vern Buchanan, commented: "The Sarasota/Bradenton area did not come under the direct impact of the hurricane as predicted thus, luckily, damage is limited.
"The Championships enjoy the full support of Local, State and National Governments as well as the communities around the venue."
As a result, county officials have given the Organising Committee the all-clear to continue operations at the newly constructed Nathan Benderson Park venue in Sarasota.
The Committee’s statement also thanked the Sarasota County Emergency Management Department and local and state officials for their efforts in keeping the local community safe during Hurricane Imra, which caused devastation in parts of the Caribbean and other parts Florida.
Last year’s World Rowing Championships took place in Rotterdam in the Netherlands. The 2018 and 2019 events will be held in Plovdiv in Bulgaria and Linz-Ottensheim in Austria, respectively.
The Herald Tribune reported that the site of the World Rowing Championships suffered little damage with the passage of Hurricane Irma.
“The Benderson Family Finish Tower was undamaged, the flooding that happened after the overnight deluge August 26 had not reoccurred and even the temporary buildings housing the offices of the organizations in charge of the park and the event were left standing.
“The main damage evident Monday was that most of the recently planted full-grown royal palms had blown down."
A spokesman for the Championships said that only five countries’ arrival plans had been affected by the storm’s passage.
The majority of the competitors are scheduled to arrive later this week.
Many of their boats were still safely packed in shipping containers at the park.
Others were still on their way.
"The 2017 World Rowing Championships staff is working diligently along with the support of FISA and USRowing to ensure a safe and successful world championships," the organisers added.
The United States Rowing Association is sending one of the biggest teams with entries in 25 of the 26 boat classes and a total of 75 athletes followed by Britain with 67 athletes and Italy with 60 athletes.
Ireland’s Olympic silver medallist Gary O'Donovan will not be partnering brother Paul in the World Rowing Championships after being affected by a viral infection.
He will still travel to Florida as first reserve with Shane O'Driscoll filling in for the lightweight men's double sculls event.