Australia fume at GB's home advantages

Australia and other major rowing nations have met to discuss concerns that British rowers will be given unfair home advantages at the London Olympics.


Great Britain have a fine record in Olympic rowing, but their rivals believe that by cutting the travel time for British athletes in half and giving them priority waterway access at Eton Dorney, where the event will be held, they are breaching the spirit of the competition.

Leading nations including Australia, Germany, the United States and the Netherlands, are planning to protest the situation to rowing’s governing body, the FISA.

Rowing Australia are particularly concerned by the ‘back-door’ dock which will save British rowers around half an hour each time they travel to train and compete.

Australia’s high-performance director Andrew Matheson fears that length of time could be higher still if ‘shambolic’ transport plans leave foreign rowers stranded on traffic-heavy motorways.

"For us it's fascinating to see what they're up to," Matheson told AAP.

"They're not necessarily cheating but they're doing something we wouldn't consider doing ourselves.

"Our view is the whole spirit of competition is having the best level playing field you can.

"You automatically get a home-town advantage anyway and we believe they're pushing it far too far."

Matheson said that the concerns over transport to Eton Dorney in Buckinghamshire were so serious that they were looking into finding alternative accommodation for their athletes away from the Olympic Village and closer to the site.

"The organisation is well behind where we believe it should be and for us it's a double whammy," he said.

"To see the home town not even engaging in the village or transport plan is a step too far.

"For us it's a real shame that it's coming to this.

"Our athletes have worked too hard not to get the platform they can work off."

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