By Duncan Mackay

Aiguebelette_lakeSeptember 5 - Aiguebelette, in France, has been chosen to host the 2015 World Rowing Championships, beating rival bids from Strathclyde in Scotland and Varese in Italy.

The Lake, which is located in the Savoie Region of France, last hosted the Championships in 1997 when the winners include Britain in the four, a squad made up of Sir Steve Redgrave, Sir Matthew Pinsent, James Cracknell and Tim Foster. 

With a surface area of 5.45 sq km, it is one of the largest natural lakes in France.

The small towns of Novalaise, Lepin-Le-Lac, St. Alban de Montbel and Aiguebelette-le-lac are located along the lake, which is surrounded by the mountain ridge of Col de l'Epine at the north and Le Mont Grelle along the eastern side of the lake.

Aiguebelette had been put forward to the FISA Congress in Lake Bled today by the ruling Council and the recommendation was ratified by 110 votes to 33. 

Among those who were the first to hail the decision was Jean-Claude Killy, the triple Olympic skiing champion, who is now an influential member of the International Olympic Commmittee (IOC).

"We are very happy," he said. 

"It is part of the French tradition that we now organise world events on a regular basis."

Strathclyde had last hosted the Championships in 1996. 

The 2015 event will have extra significance as it will be the main qualifying event for the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro.

"We are very pleased and proud that the FISA Congress has shown such confidence in us," said said·Jean-Jacques Mulot , president of the French Federation of Rowing (FFSA).

"It will be great that rowing in France will be so much in the spotlight the year before the Rio Olympics."

Next year's World Championships are due to be held in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, with 2013 in Chungju, South Korea, and 2014 in Amsterdam.

There was some consolation for Varese in the northern Italian region of Lombardia, which was awarded the 2014 World Rowing Under-23 Championships.

FISA also added five new nations as members.

Bahamas, Namibia, Cap Vert, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Mongolia were all voted in, bringing the total number of FISA member federations to 136 National Federations.

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