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 Monday, 13 January, 2003, 13:26 GMT
Olympic rowing champion fights canal link
Tim Foster (second from left)
Tim Foster (second from left) won Olympic gold in 2000
Olympic rowing champion Tim Foster has criticised a proposed canal link between Milton Keynes and Bedford.

He said that the link would mean too much river traffic and the end of rowing.

He said: "I learnt to row on the river in Bedford and my career progressed from there; I would hate to think that opportunity is going to be denied to other young people from the town."

The chairman of the Bedford and Milton Keynes Waterway Trust said that competitive rowing in Bedford was to be phased out within five to 10 years.

We will make sure that the rowers do not lose out

Ian Clifton
Chairman, Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway Trust

Ian Clifton said that the ban was scheduled for health and safety reasons whether a canal is built or not, because of the amount of competitors, the rowers' speed and the river's size.

Mr Clifton told BBC News Online that a local group is lobbying for an Olympic-quality rowing area at nearby Willington.

"We will make sure that the rowers do not lose out."

He said non-competitive rowers could use the canal.

"The social side of rowing is very important to Bedford and will still carry on," said Mr Clifton, a Bedford borough councillor.

The 20-mile canal linking the River Great Ouse at Bedford and the Grand Union Canal at Milton Keynes is due to be built by 2010.

A decision on the link is expected later in January.


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07 Jan 03 | England
29 Nov 02 | England
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