Close racing in opening heats of 2020 European Rowing Junior Championships
The much-anticipated 2020 European Rowing Junior Championships got underway with ideal racing conditions at the Ada Ciganlija Regatta course in Belgrade, Serbia. The morning saw heats in 11 of the 14 racing categories and racing was fast and furious.
The morning of racing began with three heats of the junior women’s single sculls. In the first heat, Wiktoria Kalinowska of Poland led from the start, bringing her stroke rate down as she approached 1000m. The other four scullers competed fiercely for the remaining two places directly to the semifinals. In heat two, 2019 European Rowing Junior Championships gold medallist Daria Stavynoga of Ukraine took control of the race early on and led all the way to the line. The third and final heat had four scullers competing for three semi-final places, It was all to play for in the final quarter of the race, with Anna-Mariya Andreeva of Bulgaria finishing fourth and proceeding to the repechage.
Semifinal A/B qualifiers: POL, HUN, SVK, UKR, TUR, POR, BLR, ROU, CRO.
The junior men’s single sculls followed, with two heats. Fedor Tihanov of Russia dominated the first heat to proceed directly to the final, the remainder of the scullers going through to the repechage. The second heat provided much more of a battle for the all-important first place, with Victor Marcelot of France moving ahead of Cristian-Vasile Nicora of Romania in the final stages of the race.
A-final qualifiers: RUS, FRA
With just one direct qualifying spot from each of the heats in the junior women’s pair, a great race to the line ensued between Poland and Switzerland with Poland crossing the line first. In heat two, the Russian and Spanish pairs saw steering problems in the third quarter allowing France to take advantage. However, the French pair was not able to overcome the Romanian pair who took the qualifying place.
A-final qualifiers: POL, ROU
The junior men’s pair boat class also provided some exciting racing with a battle for the single qualifying place between Belarus and Spain in the first heat with Belarus taking the spot. In the second heat, Romania had a clear lead across the line with a very close finish between the remaining crews, setting us up for an exciting repechage.
A-final qualifiers: BLR, ROU
In the junior women’s double sculls, thirteen entries meant that the first three crews would proceed to the semi-final. The Slovenian double was leading at 1000m but Greece then pipped them to the line with France very close behind. Belarus were the clear leaders of the second heat throughout the race. The Swiss cow bells could be heard loudly supporting their crew who led the third heat to the line. The home crew missed out on the direct semifinal qualification so progressed to the repechage.
Semifinal A/B qualifiers: GRE, SLO, FRA, BLR, ROU, CRO, SUI, RUS, CZE
Heat one of the junior men’s double sculls provided an exciting race between Switzerland and Greece. However, pressure was on behind as the other crews wanted to challenge for the two qualification spots. In the second heat, Spain were leading Poland by just two seconds at the 500m marker. By the final 250m, the Spanish duo had command of the race and led across the line with Poland maintaining second place. Turkey led the third heat throughout. Slovenia were striking 38 strokes per minute in the final stages of the race but they couldn’t hold off the final charge from the Czech Republic crew who took the second qualifying place.
Semifinal A/B qualifiers: GRE, SUI, ESP, POL, TUR, CZE
Spain and Romania raced hard to the line fighting hard for the single direct qualifying spot in the first heat of the junior women’s four. The French crew worked together really well in the second heat, stamping their authority and taking their rating down in the final quarter of the race.
A-final qualifiers: ESP, FRA
Matching their female counterparts, a well-polished French four had a commanding lead in the first heat of the junior men’s four. The second heat saw a very close race between Greece and Romania fighting for the single qualifying spot for the final. By the finish line, Romania had maintained the lead but Turkey had overtaken Greece to take second place.
A-final qualifiers: FRA, ROU
With nine crews in the junior women’s quadruple sculls, two spots were up for grabs in each heat to progress directly to the final. It was all to play for in the final stages of the race. Switzerland took the first spot and there was just 0.03 seconds between France and Czech Republic. The second heat was much more spread out. The experienced Romanian crew led, with three returners from the crew that raced at last year’s European Rowing Junior Championships. Poland took the second qualifying spot.
A-final qualifiers: SUI, FRA, ROU, POL
Racing was also close for the junior men’s quadruple sculls with Czech Republic and Belarus taking the top two spots in the first heat, just ahead of France. In the second heat, with Russia crossing the line first, a last-minute surge from Poland saw them inch ahead of Ireland. The third and final heat gave an exciting finish with the top three crews finishing less than two second apart. Lithuania took the first spot with Estonia taking second.
Semifinal A/B CZE, BLR RUS, POL, LTU, EST.
Russia led the first heat of the junior men’s eights to the line to take the direct qualification spot into the final. In the second heat, the crew from Czech Republic rowed in beautiful style and ideal conditions dominating their heat ahead of Serbia in second and Estonia in third.
A-final qualifiers: RUS, CZE
The morning block of racing finished with the preliminary race of the junior women’s eights. The home crew took the honours but only a couple of seconds ahead of Romania and Belarus.