Asian Olympic qualification adds nine countries
30/04/2012 - 17:26:00
A further 17 boats have been added to those already qualified for the London 2012 Olympic Games following the Asian Olympic Qualification Regatta.
At the Tangeum Lake in Chungju, Korea, the Japanese contingent were smiling after winning three of the four qualification events.
Qualification events included the men’s and women’s single sculls and the lightweight men’s and women’s double sculls.Japan used experienced Olympians as well as new blood to take control of three of these events.
Veteran Olympian Daisaku Takeda teamed up with Kazushige Ura to win the lightweight men’s double where the top three qualified for London. This means Takeda is heading for Olympic Games number five and racing it with his 2008 Olympic partner, Ura. Takeda and Ura won by an easy margin over Hong Kong China’s Kwan Hoi Lok and Chun Shek Leung. Lok and Leung have regularly teamed up over the last four years in the double and raced together at the 2011 World Rowing Championships. This will be their first Olympic appearance. In third place Manjeet Singh and Sandeep Kumar of India are in their first season together after racing in the lightweight four last year.
For the lightweight women’s double it was also the top three qualifying and again Japan led the way with Atsumi Fukumoto and Akiko Iwamoto in the boat. This will be experienced Iwamoto’s fourth Olympic Games whilst it will be the first time for Fukumoto. Korea earned spot number two in a tight three-way finish. Sol Ji Kim and Myungshin Kim of Korea last teamed up in 2009 to race at the World Championships. They are back together and are both heading for their first Olympic Games.
Vietnam finished in the third and final qualification position, getting to the line just ahead of Uzbekistan. Hai Pham Thi and Thao Pham Thi are the sole Vietnamese boat to qualify for London and it will be their first time at the Olympic Games for these two scullers.
The women’s single sculls final saw the tightest finish of the day’s racing as the top three boats finished within one second of each other. With the top five boats qualifying for London all three of these crews were safely within the margin, so racing was for pride and practice. At the head of the field was Haruna Sakakibara of Japan. Sakakibara is just 18 years old and raced at the World Rowing Junior Championships last year. She held off Yeji Kim of Korea who was second. In third Soulmaz Abbasiazad of Iran held her own in the tight finish despite her lack of international racing exposure.
Taking the final two spots were Svetlana Germanovich of Kazakstan and Phuttharaksa Neegree Rodenburg of Thailand. Germanovich last raced internationally five years ago but has made a successful comeback and is on her way to London along with Olympian Rodenburg.
The men’s single final had all six of the finalists qualifying for the London Olympics, but racing was still intense. Sawarn Singh of India was the easy winner when he overtook early leader Mohsen Shadi Naghadeh of Iran who faded towards the end of the race. Korea’s Dongyong Kim finished third and Chinese Taipei, Kazakhstan and Hong Kong China secured the rest of the spots.
Racing on finals day was took place in very good rowing conditions with a very light wind, sunny and smooth water on the Tangeum Lake course. The racing attracted many local Chungju citizens who were supportive of the rowers, especially enjoying Korea’s success in gaining three Olympic spots.
There is now one remaining qualification regatta, the Final Olympic Qualification Regatta which is open to all countries and takes place in Lucerne, Switzerland from 20 – 23 May 2012.
Click here for the updated 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Qualification Chart - by event & NOC