Chalupa out and Ukraine drama at the World Rowing Champs
Today at the World Rowing Championships in Munich, Germany crews in Group A of the Olympic events got their last chance to move on to semifinals.
, Germany." border="0" src="/display/modules/media/cropimage.php?mediaid=353696&x0=19&y0=6&x1=279&y1=146&zoom=0.6000000000000001" title="Igor Meijer">
Read on to learn about the successes on this third day of racing in cool conditions with a small cross head wind slowing the finishing times down.
, Germany." border="0" height="137" src="/medias/images/media_353580.jpg" title=" © 2007 Getty Images" width="200">Women’s Single Sculls (W1x) – Quarterfinals
Tension was building on the water. An extra element had been added. The moment had arrived for the potential to lose the opportunity to advance to the semifinal and thus the opportunity for Olympic qualification. Of the four quarterfinals a top three finish was required for advancement to the semifinal. Simple as that? Read on.
In quarterfinal one China’s Xiuyun Zhang led the way. Zhang is China’s most accomplished Chinese rower. She has a World Championship title from 1993 and won silver at the 1996 Olympic Games. In the single Zhang is shaking off two missed Olympic chances and aiming for Beijing. Behind Zhang a close battle was going on between former Under 23 Champion Julia Michalska of Poland and current Under 23 Champion, Emma Twigg of New Zealand. Michalska began with a small edge over Twigg but Twigg pushed back to get ahead of Michalska through the middle of the race. With 250m remaining Michalska attacked again taking her rating to 36. Twigg held her off and Michalska let it go. Zhang only needed a 28 stroke rate to keep her lead. Zhang, Twigg and Michalska advance to the semifinal keeping their Olympic qualification hopes alive.
, Germany." border="0" height="134" src="/medias/images/media_353659.jpg" title=" © 2007 Getty Images" width="200">The leader was clear in quarterfinal two – Bulgaria’s career rower Rumyana Neykova. Returning post new baby, Neykova showed that she’s back in racing form by not only winning her race but qualifying with the second fastest time of the four quarterfinals. Behind Neykova, Australia started fast before dropping off the pace with the experienced Julia Levina of Russia moving into second. The small package of power, Frida Svensson of Sweden then pushed through. At the line Neykova, Levina and Svensson qualify for the semifinal.
Sophie Balmary of France is known to have a fast start. The world record holder on the indoor rowing machine, Balmary remained in front with Michelle Guerette of the United States taking chase. Guerette is part of the new-look American sculling renaissance and won bronze in 2005 but slipped out of the medals last year. Coming into the final sprint, Balmary appeared to back off the pace and Guerette gained the lead. Guerette and Balmary qualify. In third Svitlana Spiryukhova of Ukraine got relegated to last position after it was found that her boat weighed in under weight. Italy’s Gabriella Bascelli goes through to the semifinal instead and keeps her Olympic qualification hopes alive.
, Germany. " border="0" height="131" src="/medias/images/media_353592.jpg" title=" © Simon Lorenz" width="200">The only surprise in quarterfinal four was the usually smooth and fast start by Ekaterina Karsten of Belarus was not so, so fast. Mirka Knapkova of the Czech Republic was right on her tail. The race then turned into the usual procession – Karsten in the lead, Knapkova following in second and way, way back Nuria Dominguez Asensio of Spain slotted into the third and final qualifying spot. Dominguez became the first Spanish woman to make an Olympic final in 2004 and she puts herself one small step closer to doing it again. Back in fifth, Germany will not qualify for the Olympics at this regatta in an event in which they hold the Olympic title.
SCHMIDT Susanne (GER): "The crowd is amazing, it`s still Tuesday, the repechages, and usually there are 10 people here at this time. Now, it`s loud, it`s noisy, you hear your family."
Men’s Single Sculls (M1x) - Quarterfinals
© Peter Spurrier/Intersport-Images " width="200">The top three would advance. Every single rower wanted one of these spots. In quarterfinal one Sweden was looking hot. Lassi Karonen hovers on the edge of A Finals and occasionally medals at international events. He led the way. Behind him a battle between the young Aleksander Aleksandrov of Bulgaria (this year’s junior champion) and Switzerland’s experienced Andre Vonarburg was raging. Vonarburg had to miss the final Rowing World Cup last month due to a small hole in his heart. His post-operation recovery has been fast. With Karonen a long way in front Aleksandrov continued to push on and at the line remained ahead of Vonarburg. Karonen, Aleksandrov and Vonarburg qualify for the semifinal.
, Germany." border="0" height="200" src="/medias/images/media_353585.jpg" title=" © Simon Lorenz" width="160">Olaf Tufte of Norway struggled in Sunday’s heats. He suffers from asthma and was not able to do his normal biking warm-up to help the asthma and got soundly beaten. Today Tufte bounced back in quarterfinal two. Starting off reasonably conservatively, Tufte overtook Austria then Ondrej Synek of the Czech Republic and finally the smaller, lighter Tim Maeyens of Belgium. Maeyens, who finished sixth at the Athens Olympics, held on for 1500m and then let Tufte get away. Synek looked like he just wanted to qualify and do no more. Tufte, Maeyens and Synek move on to the semifinal.
, Germany." border="0" height="200" src="/medias/images/media_353586.jpg" title=" © Simon Lorenz" width="131">Mahe Drysdale of New Zealand must have been feeling good after qualifying through the heats two days ago with the fastest time. In quarterfinal three Drysdale took on Great Britain’s Alan Campbell at his own game. Usually Campbell gets way out in front at the start. Today Drysdale beat him out of the starting blocks and left Campbell in the dust. Behind Drysdale and Campbell, Cyprus’s Valentinos Sofokleous and Australia’s Peter Hardcastle battled for the final qualifying spot. Through the 1250m Hardcastle attacked taking his rating to 34. It worked. Hardcastle got his nose in front. Sofokleous fought back but was running out of steam. Hardcastle, an afterthought on the Australian team, moves on to the semifinal and puts his chances of Olympic qualification up a huge notch. Drysdale and Campbell qualify from first and second respectively.
When Marcel Hacker is not training on the sea in California or at altitude at Switzerland’s St Moritz he lives and trains with his coach at this course. Lately he has been revelling in hometown support and he put on a fine show for them in quarterfinal four. Leading from the start Hacker extended out to an open water lead over Sjoerd Hamburger of the Netherlands with Santiago Fernandez of Argentina following in third. The order remained the same. The race became a virtual procession. Hacker, Hamburger and Fernandez become semifinalists.
Women’s Pair (W2-) – Repechages
Three out of the four boats would advance to the semifinals. Four boats went for broke and even with 1000m raced there was nothing between the crews in what commentator Robert Treharne-Jones described as nip and tuck rowing. With 1500m race the field was all but level. Someone had to give. In the final sprint Italy began to run out of steam. Great Britain and Russia charged. Russia’s steering went wonky taking them into the next lane. The Dutch held on. Great Britain, Russia and the Netherlands breathe a sigh of relief. They move on to the semifinal.
Men’s Pair (M2-) – Repechages
Four repechages with a top two finish necessary for advancement to the semifinal was the formula for fast, intense racing. Poland’s Piotr Hojka and Jaroslaw Godek opened repechage one in the lead followed closely by the Czech Republic and the United States. The challenge on Hojka and Godek remained through the middle of the race with Jason Read and Kyle Larson of the United States giving it all they had to try and get ahead of the Czech Republic. Stamina and determination paid off for Read and Larson. The Czechs had virtually blown up with no energy left. Poland and the United States move on to the semifinal and one step closer to Olympic qualification.
(b) and Donovan Cech (s) of Republic of South Africa compete in the men's pair at the 2007 World Rowing Championships in Munich, Germany." border="0" src="/medias/images/media_353577.jpg" title=" © 2007 Getty Images" width="200">South Africa’s Ramon Di Clemente and Don Cech put their bad results from the heats behind them and pulled it all together in repechage two. Di Clemente and Cech are South Africa’s most successful rowers and also the most successful ever to come out of the African continent. They won bronze at the Athens Olympics and are looking to go a step higher at Beijing. Today they got one step closer. Behind South Africa Morten Nielsen and Thomas Larsen of Denmark challenged hard. Slovenia did all that they could to move up into a qualifying spot but Denmark held them off. South Africa and Denmark move on to the semifinal.
In 2004 Sinisa and Niksa Skelin of Croatia finished second at the Olympics. They vowed to come back and go after gold. In the meantime Niksa has become a doctor and overcome back problems. This year they are looking their old 2004 selves again. In repechage three they had to battle with Andreas Penkner and Jochen Urban of Germany to find the leading position. In the second half of the race the Skelins found it looking more powerful than Penkner and Urban. These two countries remained well ahead of the rest of the field and advance to the semifinal.
Serbian Goran Jagar is in the second year of racing with Olympian Nikola Stojic and the combination of youth and experience are aiming for Beijing. In repechage four they pushed past Daniel Casaca and Chris Jarvis of Canada to earn the lead. Athens Olympian Jarvis is back to get rid of the ghosts of the last Olympics. At Athens bad steering put him and his partner out of the final. Casaca and Jarvis continued to challenge Stojic and Jagar to the line. Both boats advance to the semifinal, Serbia from first.
GUZMAN DEL CASTILLO Noe (ESP): "Now, I`m not well, we`ve lost the race, so I`m quite down."
Women’s Double Sculls (W2x) – Repechages
The formula for these two repechages was the necessity to finish in the top three to advance to the semifinal. The young Czech duo of Gabriela Varekova and Jitka Antosova led the way in repechage one with Ukraine slipping into second and Norway’s Marianne Nordahl and Martha Helgeland following in third. The race remained in this order through the first 1000m. Problems then struck Olena Buryak of Ukraine. Going through the 1450m mark, Buryak collapsed, their boat capsizing. An ambulance was soon on the scene. The race continued without Ukraine. At the finish the Czech Republic qualify from first, Norway from second and Aliz Konya and Lidia Veroci of Hungary make it through in third.
At the front of the field in repechage two the United States renaissance continued. Americans Ala Piotrowski and Jennifer Kaido led the way. But the Australian’s Amber Bradley and Kerry Hore were right with them and going through the middle of the race Bradley and Hore took over the lead. The United States seemed unconcerned and happy to remain in second. Australia, the United States and Yoo Jin Ji and Yeong Eun Shin of Korea advance to the semifinal.
Men’s Double Sculls (M2x) – Quarterfinals
The first of four quarterfinals required athletes to be in the top three positions. Italy got off to an aggressive start and held on, but did not have the stamina to maintain it in the second half of the race. This is when Matthew Wells and Stephen Rowbotham of Great Britain took over the lead with Scott Brennan and David Crawshay of Australia storming up behind them followed closely by Stijn Smulders and Christophe Raes of Belgium. Australia’s storm continued as they closed the gap on Wells and Rowbotham. The British only just held them off. Great Britain, Australia and Belgium qualify for the semifinal.
Bulgaria’s Ivo Yanakiev earned bronze in the single at the Athens Olympics and since then he has been dabbling in the double with his brother Martin. Today the duo lined up in quarterfinal two. The Bulgarians, however, never really fired, their strokes looking heavy. Finishing fourth the duo miss out on this main chance of Olympic qualification. Meanwhile at the head of the field Samuel Stitt and Matthew Hughes of the United States were having a full on battle with Dzianis Mihal and Stanislau Shcharbachenia of Belarus. The lead changed several times. Stitt and Hughes had the better sprint and move on to the semifinal from first. Belarus take second and Mario Vekic and Ante Kusurin of Croatia qualify from third.
(b) and Nathan Cohen (s) at the start of the heat at the 2007 World Rowing Championships in Munich, Germany." border="0" src="/medias/images/media_353568.jpg" title=" © Dominik Keller" width="200">Last year New Zealand’s Nathan Cohen finished with a silver at the under 23 level. Today he fronted up at the senior level with partner Matthew Trott and took the lead in quarterfinal three. This must have shocked the experienced Olympic Champions from 2000 Luka Spik and Iztok Cop of Slovenia and well as the very experienced Jueri Jaanson of Estonia. Jaanson, with partner Tonu Endrekson have won two Rowing World Cups this season and it would be assumed they are the favourites. But the new New Zealand combination were hanging in there by a nose.
Going through the third 500m Spik and Cop decided enough was enough and pushed past Jaanson and Endrekson and Trott and Cohen to take the lead. The gutsy New Zealanders held on. Slovenia win by less than a second and qualify, Trott and Cohen qualify ahead of Estonia in second. Jaanson and Endrekson qualify from third. The next boat across the line contained rowing’s stalwart Vaclav Chalupa of the Czech Republic. Chalupa and partner Milan Dolecek sat in their boat after the finish, heads down, incredibly disappointed. Their Olympic qualification hopes dashed for now. Chalupa has competed at the last four Olympic Games.
Current World Champions Adrien Hardy and Jean-Baptiste Macquet of France may have found their mojo again. The duo have had a very lacklustre season but today in quarterfinal four they led from start to finish. Behind the French, Christian Schreiber and Rene Burmeister of Germany pushed their way from fourth through to second using a race with Poland’s Michal Sloma and Marcin Brzezinski to help propel them forward. Ukraine tried to come back, but it will be France, Germany and Poland going to the semifinal.
(b), Toni Seifert, Urs Kaeufer and Philip Adamski (s) of Germany are seen in action during the heat at the 2007 World Rowing Championships in Munich, Germany." border="0" src="/medias/images/media_353570.jpg" title=" © 2007 Getty Images" width="200">Men’s Four (M4-) – Repechages
Germany made the most of their second chance in repechage one of four. The Germans are not known for quick starts and had to push past Argentina then Egypt and finally Belarus to get into the lead. With only two boats qualifying for the semifinal, this was all important for the Germans to be in front. Belarus, who led for most of the race took second to qualify as well.
Slovenia are very inconsistent in their racing, but today they did what they needed to do in repechage two – win. At the start Slovenia were way back, three seconds off the leaders pace in third with Italy in the lead. The Slovenians then started to claw their way back. Going through the middle of the race Slovenia attacked Canada, the crew that includes Olympic silver medallist Barney Williams in stroke. Using a 38 stroke rate Slovenia had blown away the Canadians with 600m left to row. Their momentum also took them past Italy. Slovenia and Italy advance to the semifinal.
France showed their power and smooth stroking style in the heats, and again today in repechage three. Stroked by Dorian Mortelette, the French took the lead over Australia and held on. The young Greek crew tried to push into the qualification spots but didn’t have the power. France and Australia go on to the semifinal.
A quick rearrangement in the order of the United States four had the right effect. In repechage four stroke from the winning Athens Olympics men’s eight, Bryan Volpenhein has been moved back into stroke seat for the Americans. Under Volpenhein’s guidance the crew grabbed hold of the lead. Meanwhile the Irish, who impressed in the heats stormed out of the start at a 48 stroke rate, holding 38 through the body of the race. As Romania slipped back Ireland moved into the second qualifying spot behind the United States. The order did not change with Croatia finding the pace too hot. The United States and a very relieved Ireland move on to the semifinal.