CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand, September 17. SWIMMING New Zealand has been forced to move this month's National Age Group Short Course Championships to Wellington, following the earthquakes in Canterbury.
The championships, expected to attract up to 1000 swimmers, coaches, officials and supporters, was scheduled for QEII Leisure Centre in Christchurch on 26-30 September.
With the complex still closed after the earthquakes and damage reported to the main building that houses the swimming pool, Swimming New Zealand had to re-evaluate the event.
They considered cancelling or postponing the championships, and moving to another venue before deciding to relocate the championships to Wellington on the same dates.
"We would have liked to have kept it in Christchurch to help bring revenue into the city following the earthquake," said Swimming New Zealand Event Manager, Kent Stead.
"There are a lot of other far more serious priorities for Canterbury people than the status of the QEII complex which we totally understood but we had reached a deadline for a decision.
"It has been a huge job to move an event of this size at such short notice but with the support and hard work from many parties, we have managed to do so."
Swimming New Zealand has been delighted with the support from its own fraternity and also accommodation and transport carriers for their support.
Swimming Wellington, Bay of Plenty and Auckland all offered to take on the event with the Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre at Kilbirnie made available.
"It is best equipped to handle an event of this size and was the best option."
All of the airlines – Air New Zealand, Jetstar and Virgin – offered complete refunds or credits for teams, even those with non-refundable tickets.
Accommodation providers have also cooperated to make beds available in Wellington despite a clash in the school holidays with the WOW Festival.
"We consulted widely including with Swimming Canterbury who supported our decision to move the event from QEII. It's been a frantic week and now we have a very busy couple of weeks to get everything in place."
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