All business for under-23 semifinals
The 2014 World Rowing Under 23 Championships in Varese, Italy has moved through heats, repechage and quarterfinals and progressed into the business end of the regatta - the semifinals.
Two semifinals were raced today; the lightweight men's pair and the men's four. Narrowed down to the final 12 boats in each of these two boat classes, these under-23 rowers raced in warm, sunny conditions with Lake Varese spicing up the rowing with a bit of a cross-wind.
Lightweight Men’s Pair (BLM2-) – Semifinals
Duking it out in Semifinal One was a number of the top rowing nations with Germany leading the way. But the German's were up against the fastest qualifiers from Wednesday's heats, Canada. Grayson Gray and James Myers of Canada then took over in the lead. Germany tried to hold the pace with Australia and Italy both within striking distance. In the final sprint Canada, rating 36, pushed home to finish in first place with Germany in second. What followed was a big battle between Australia and Italy. The higher rating Austrlians got there first. Italy, the reigning under-23 World Champions, had missed out.
Semifinal Two opened with Jan Hajek and Michael Humpolec of the Czech Republic having a very good start with the British chasing hard. Going through the middle of the race there were three separate battles going on. The Czechs and British were neck-and-neck at the head of the field, France and the United States raced each other and Norway and Portugal had their own race going on at the back of the field.
In the final sprint, Hajek and Humpolec looked smooth and in control to cross the line first and also record the fastest qualifying time. Great Britain held on to second over France who had managed to get the better of the United States to qualify for Saturday's A-final.
Qualifiers: CAN, GER, AUS, CZE, GBR, FRA
Men’s Four (BM4-) – Semifinals
After a very solid heat two days ago, racing was looking good for Italy in Semifinal One. The Italians left the starting blocks very swiftly and by the first 500m marker had already gained nearly a boat length over the rest of the field. Could they hold it to the end? Apparently so. By the middle of the race, the Italians were completely dominating with Serbia and Great Britain almost in striking distance. Then Serbia began to fade with only Great Britain able to put up a challenge.
Coming into the final sprint it looked like the crews had become resigned to the finish order with Italy crossing the line easily in front, followed by Great Britain and Germany in third.
The reigning under-23 World Champions, Romania raced in Semifinal Two. Romania had finished second behind Germany two days ago in the heats and it looked like they wanted to put things right today. Romania led the field through the middle of the race and coming into the final sprint they led Spain and the United States who were locked together.
As Romania led the race home at a 36 stroke rate, Spain took their rating to 44 with the aim of holding off a charge coming from the United States and Croatia. Last year's bronze medallists, the United States got the better of Croatia to earn the remaining spot in the final.
Qualifiers: ITA, GBR, GER, ROU, ESP, USA