Covering 500m of racing to become Indoor Rowing World Champion
The atmosphere was electric, the racing captivating and the spectators felt that they were part of the excitement for day 1 at the 2020 World Rowing Indoor Championships. Paris’s well-known Coubertin Stadium was packed with action as athletes went as fast as they could for the 500m race distance on the indoor rowing machines.
At the completion World Championship medals were handed out.
The highlight of today’s racing was the open men’s and women’s 500m. For the men World Record holder Phil Clapp of Great Britain was hoping to match his top pace. Clapp went out very quickly averaging a 1:08 pace and doing 52 strokes per minute. This astounding pace, however, was too fast to maintain and Clapp started to slip as the race progressed. He still won by two seconds recording 1:12.3 ahead of Joel Naukkarinen of Finland with Vincent Matz of France in third.
Phil Clapp (GBR), gold medal:
"Today was pretty good! I broke the World Record like 7 days ago, and came close again today. I’m happy with the result but obviously it’s a struggle to always perform at your peak physical condition. Every year there are more and more people getting involved in indoor rowing and I think a lot come towards the sprint distances, like the 500m. It’s a great cross training tool for other sports, and I think it’s important we push to involve those other sports."
Reigning World Champion and World Record holder for women over 2000m, Olena Buryak of Ukraine added another indoor rowing medal to her collection by easily winning the open women’s race in 1:27.5. France’s Lucie Giraud came in second with Rhian Rudkin of Great Britain in third.
Olena Buryak (UKR), gold medal:
"I expected more but it was a good race. It was a normal race. Tomorrow the race (2000m) will be just a bit longer. (...) It has always been my dream to be in Paris on my birthday and tomorrow that will come true. If I get a medal that’s a bonus!"
The British went one-two in the lightweight women’s race with Jilly Tovey just beating Laura Barrigan to the line. Tovey’s time was a second ahead at 1:39.3. In third was France’s Selma Dhaouadi.
Jilly Tovey (GBR), gold medal:
"I wasn’t super sure coming into this competition how I would place. I did the British champs a while back and that went well. My goal here was just to go sub 1:40 and I accomplished that."
The closest race of the day was the lightweight men’s 500m with the top two finishes recording identical times – Alonso Damian of Spain and Adrien Decriem of France. They were both crowned World Champions.
It was all smiles from Nour Arafa of Egypt. Arafa finished first in the under-23 lightweight women’s race finishing just over a second ahead of Merlene Eychenne of France and Fanny Chatelet also of France. The under-23 lightweight men’s race attracted a huge number of entries with France dominating the podium. Coming in first with a time of 1:23.5 was Charly Leclaire. Coretin Amet was two seconds back with Erwan Hemery another two second back and in third.
Lisuu Mitt of Estonia came in first in the under-23 open women’s race. Her time of 1:32.4 earned Mitt the gold medal. Two French names followed Mitt onto the medals podium with Juliette Noir in second and Juliette Ragaleux in third.
Lisisu Mitt, Estonia, Gold medal:
"I prefer 500m, but this race was tough."
Juliette Noir, France, Silver medal:
"The race was really fast and fun"
Juliette Ragaleux, France, Bronze Medal:
“I do crossfit and I haven't been on the water but I can say that this race was pretty hard."
The name Warld Lemmelijin is becoming well-known in indoor rowing circles after he became the under-23 World Champion last year over the 2000m distance. From Belgium, Lemmeljin raced today in the under-23 open men’s race. But both Emil Lenzing and Magnus Zier of Denmark did not make it easy for Lemmelijin. Finishing in a time of 1:17.7, Lemmelijin was just 0.4 of a second ahead of Lenzing who in turn was just 0.3 of a second ahead of Zier.
The masters races opened with the men’s 60+. In an incredibly tight battle just 0.6 of a second separated the top three places. Ants Einsalu of Estonia finished first in a time of 1:26.3 with Christopher Del Rey in second and Herve Bourquel of France in third.
A World Record was achieved in the masters men’s 50-59-year-old age group. Ole Kristian Karlsen of Norway set the time of 1:20.4. This was just ahead of Thomas Jensen of Denmark in second with Peder Thorstenson of the United States in third.
The master’s men’s 30-39-year-old age group had David Rackstraw of Great Britain becoming the new World Champion by recording the time of 1:17.4. Jordan Lequy of France was second and Alberto Fernandez of Spain was third. For the women in this age group Georgia Peramatzi of Greece was first in a time of 1:32.4 followed by silver and bronze medallists – Arabella Carbutt of Great Britain and Nadege Beaulieu of France respectively.
It was success for Milan Lackovic of Slovakia over race favourite Sean Gaffney of Great Britain in the men’s para PR3. Lackovic finished four seconds ahead of Gaffney in a time of 1:20.9. For the para PR1 events, host nation France dominated. Boris Dosseh, Thomas Laronce and Nicolas Marfil took over the podium for the men while French national team member Nathalie Benoit won the women’s para PR1 in a time of 2:00.1. Benoit is currently ranked second in the world for the on-water 2000m race.