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PHOTOS: Sidney welcomes the world to rowing competition

The World Rowing Coastal Championships formally opened Thursday night in Sidney.

RELATED: World Coastal Rowing Championship features strong Indigenous ties

Julien Bahain, an Olympic rower, served as MC.

Tsartlip elder STOLȻEȽ (John Elliott) welcomed the crowd, blessed the event and introduced the dancers from the ȽÁU, WELṈEW̱ Tribal School.

Mayor Steve Price of Sidney welcomed the crowd and described his excitement that Sidney by the Sea was the first community in North America to host such a championship.

Speakers also included Carol Purcer, President of Rowing Canada Aviron; Patrick Rombaut of the Fédération Internationale des Sociétés d’Aviron, or World Rowing Federation (FISA).

Races are throughout the day today, though race timings have been delayed slightly due to morning fog.

This is the first time the ocean rowing championship will be held in North America as 24 countries are taking part, including Canada, which will be well-represented with 14 Canadian crews.

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