Kiwi rowing hero Mahe Drysdale's very good British mate Alan Campbell has been confirmed a definite starter for the November Billy Webb Rowing Challenge on the Whangaui River.
Campbell was a close second to Drysdale in last year's World Championship single sculls at Poznan in Poland.
The Prospace-sponsored event is really starting to shape up, with very good Swede Lassi Karrinon also confirmed. he's been a regular top six finisher in recent years, and fifth at the Beijing Olympics behind last year's Webb Challenge competitor Tim Mayeans.
There are still a couple of spots to fill, with promoter Rob Hamill looking for five-strong fields in both the women's and men's event.
Campbell has been in the last two Olympic Games, finishing 12th at Athens in 2004 in the men's quad, switching to the single in 2006 and rapidly moving up to fifth at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Campbell led through the 1000 metres in that race, but faded because of lack of hard racing caused by knee surgery being required in June of that year.
Other possibilities remain Olaf Tufte (Norway), the winner of the first Webb Challenge, and German great Marcel Hacker - the latter has yet to decide what he is going to do. He has been placed in the German quad for the Worlds.
But Tufte has yet to say no.
Hamill: "He has an issue with family. his wife will be over (at the worlds), she'll be heading back straight away, so Olaf will hopefully be sharing his time with us - the idea being that we might have to fly him out straight after the race and get him home again."
Hamill says Campbell had been sought for a previous Webb Challenge but his coach did not want him to compete.
This time, because he will have been representating Britain in the single sculls at the World Championships at Karapiro, there is no problem.
"They are great friends," council rowing spokesperson Philippa Baker-Hogan said. While Maeyens was not competitive last year, Hamill says there will be no doubt at about the fitness of this year's rowers - they are all competing the week before at the Karapiro Worlds.
"All of them, without exception,. will be either at their peak or close to it."
Former world champion Baker-Hogan: "They'll all be about the same they were at the worlds - it will be about where their heads are, a bit.'
"But there's a good trophy and $5000 for the winner."
The men's and women's winners both receive classic pieces of Wanganui glasswork as well.
"Having Mahe and Alan Campbell here - and whoever elose, is like having Lance Armstrong or Michael Schumacker here, that's what it is," Baker-Hogan said. "It's that quality of guys here."
Kiwi rower Nathan Cohen is also trying to organise a tour through New Zealand for some of the internationals - the only competitive stop would likely be Wanganui.
The women's line-up is unknown at this stage.
Friday, November 12: Sprint regatta (500m).
Saturday: Men's and women's 5km single sculls.
Corporate 8s: To be confirmed, likely to be Friday and Saturday.