Calm evening waters for para-rowing heats in Poznan
The water of Lake Malta rippled gently as the para-rowing heats got underway on the Thursday evening at the third World Rowing Cup of the season. These crews faced off for the first time this season as a great test for the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in September.
Para Women’s Single Sculls (ASW1x)
The first two finishers in Heat One and Two in the para women’s single sculls would advance directly to the A-final. The remaining athletes in each race would need to go through the repechage to try and qualify for the A-final.
Israel’s Moran Samuel has a number of international medals to her name and is the 2015 World Rowing Champion in this event. She started Heat One out in front, and crossed the 500m mark ahead of the field.
Claudia Santos from Brazil was following the Israeli in second. Santos has been racing internationally in the AS Women’s Single Sculls since 2007, the year in which she became World Champion in this event. Santos took part in the first Paralympic Rowing Regatta in Beijing, China, in 2008, where she finished sixth. At London 2012, she finished fourth. She will be looking forward to compete in front of her home crowd at her third Paralympics in Rio. A sizeable gap separated the two top scullers from the rest of the field.
Further behind in third was Liudmila Vauchok from Belarus. Vauchok has a long history in this event, having first competed at the 2007 World Rowing Championships. She already has two Paralympic medals – Paralympic silver from 2008 and bronze from 2012.
Israel and Brazil qualify directly for the A-Final, while Belarus, along with para-scullers from Italy and Germany will need to race in the repechage tomorrow.
Results: ISR, BRA, BLR, ITA, GER
In Heat Two, Norway’s Birgit Skarstein lined up. She began racing internationally in the AS Women’s Single Sculls only three years ago and has medalled at each World Rowing Championship since her debut. In 2014 she claimed the world title and last year she won World Championship bronze. At the half-way mark, it was Skarstein in the lead, followed by Great Britain in second. British female para-rower Rachel Morris won World Championship silver last year. South Africa’s Sandra Khumalo followed in third. Khumalo qualified her boat for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games at last year’s World Rowing Championships thanks to her seventh place. Russia’s Mariia Varlamova followed at the back of the field. The positions remained unchanged until the line.
Results: NOR, GBR, RSA, RUS
Para Men’s Single Sculls (ASM1x)
In the para men’s single sculls, a first place would be necessary to avoid tomorrow’s repechage and advance directly to the A-final.
In Heat One, it was Ukraine’s Igor Bondar starting out in front. Bondar is the 2013 world silver medallist and after a break from international rowing, he came back to win bronze at last year’s World Rowing Championships in Aiguebelette.
In second place, it was Australia’s Erik Horrie, who won Paralympic silver in London, and then went on to claim three consecutive world titles. Horrie, however, was unable to catch up with Bondar and will have to race in the repechage in a second attempt to qualify for the A-final.
Results: UKR, AUS, BRA, RUS, POL, NED
In Heat Two, it was again a Ukrainian sculler, this time Roman Polianskyi, who took the lead and held on until the line. Polianskyi competed only once internationally before this World Rowing Cup in Poznan, having last year finished fourth at World Rowing Cup II in Varese, Italy.
Polianskyi managed to hold off Great Britain’s Tom Aggar in second until the line. Aggar is the 2008 Paralympic Champion and has several World Championship titles to his name. Last year, the British para-sculler claimed world silver in this event. Polianskyi proved too strong for Aggar, however, and the British para-sculler will be racing in tomorrow’s repechage.
Results: UKR, GBR, ITA, HUN, GER, POL
Para Mixed Double Sculls (TAMix2x)
The top two finishers in both heats of the para mixed double sculls would advance directly to the A-final, with the remaining crews having to race in the repechage.
The French crew of Perle Bouge and Stephane Tardieu have built considerable experience in this boat over the past seven years. At the London 2012 Paralympic Games, they won Paralympic silver. Together, they have won a number of World Championship medals. Their experience showed off when they took the lead in Heat One and secured their direct qualification spot for the A-final, not slowing down until the line.
Following the French in the second qualification spot was Brazil. Josiane Lima has a long history in this event, having first raced in 2006. In 2014 she was joined by Michel Gomes Pessanha. Together they won World Championship bronze in 2014 and finished sixth at last year’s World Rowing Championships.
Results: FRA, BRA, UKR1, UKR2, RUS
In Heat Two of the para mixed double sculls, it was unsurprisingly Australia who started out in front and secured their lead. Kathryn Ross has been on the para-rowing scene since 2007 and was joined by Gavin Bellis in 2012. They are the 2013, 2014 and 2015 World Champions in this event.
Following in second was the Netherlands with Esther Van Der Loos and Marinus De Koning. They have raced internationally together since 2013 and qualified their boat for the 2016 Paralympic Games thanks to a fifth-place finish at last year’s World Rowing Championships.
Australia and the Netherlands qualify directly for the A-final.
Results: AUS, NED, POL, ISR
Para Mixed Coxed Four (LTAMix4+)
In this boat class, a top two finish was initially necessary to qualify for the A-final. But with the withdrawal of 2015 World Champions Great Britain from Heat One due to illness, the progression system was modified. It was now necessary to cross the line first to qualify directly for the A-final. The remainder of the crews will race in tomorrow’s repechage in the hope to still qualify for the A-final.
Canada were the leaders in Heat One, followed by Germany in second. Canada are the 2015 bronze medallists, while Germany qualified their boat for Rio by finishing seventh at last year’s World Rowing Championships. Canada remained untouchable until the line.
Results: CAN, GER, FRA, ZIM
In Heat Two, it was South Africa in the lead throughout. They are the 2013 world bronze medallists and in 2015 finished fifth at the World Rowing Championships. Ukraine followed closely in second, with the remainder of the field far behind. At the line, the top two positions remained unchanged, with South Africa crossing the line first and Ukraine having to race in tomorrow’s repechage.
Results: RSA, UKR, RUS, ITA