Day two finals golden for Italy
In today's eight finals at the 2013 World Rowing Championships in Chungju, Korea, Italy finished with an impressive medal count with two golds, one silver and two bronze. Gold came in the men's coxed pair with Luca Parlato, Vincenzo Abbagnale and coxswain Enrico D'Aniello continuing Italy's winning tradition in this event.
It also represented a return to gold for the name "Abbagnale" with Vincenzo, the son of Italian rowing legend Giuseppe Abbagnale who won this event 25 years ago at the Seoul Olympic Games. Italy also took gold in the lightweight men's eight.
One of the most highly anticipated showdowns of this world championships saw Henrik Stephansen of Denmark face off against Jeremie Azou of France and Pedro Fraga of Portugal in the lightweight men's single sculls. Stephansen was the winner, successfully defending his 2012 title. For the lightweight women's single, Michaela Taupe-Traer of Austria finally became a World Champion after 22 years racing at the elite level.
In the lightweight men's and women's quadruple sculls, Greece took the gold for the men and the Netherlands won for the women.
The finals at the 2013 World Rowing Championships in Chungju, Korea continue tomorrow with the men's pair race seeing Hamish Bond and Eric Murray of New Zealand going after the record for number of unbeaten races. Bond and Murray have gone unbeaten since 2009 and a win at this year's World Rowing Championships will be their 16th consecutive international win. Racing in the men's pair the crew that may get the closest to breaking Bond and Murray's record could be Olympic silver medallists, Dorian Mortelette and Germain Chardin of France. Also ready to challenge will be Italy and Poland.
The women's pair also has a dominating crew. In their first season together Helen Glover and Polly Swann of Great Britain are unbeaten so far. Glover and Swann will meet Romania's Roxana Cogianu and Nicoleta Albu for the first time in the final and, judging by the week of competition, Cogianu and Albu are improving with each race. The new-look 2013 United States crew of Taylor Goetzinger and Meghan Musnicki are also racing with youthful vigour.
Lightweight rowers will be racing in the men's and women's double sculls with the men's race a relatively open field. No one boat has dominated this boat class so far this season. The top two crews are likely to be Switzerland and Great Britain. The Swiss duo of Simon Schuerch and Mario Gyr recorded a very fast time in the semi-finals and they will be up against the Chambers brothers from Great Britain in the final. All four of these athletes were in the London Olympic final of the lightweight men's four.
Laura Milani and Elisabetta Sancassani of Italy come to the final on the back of an unbeaten season in the lightweight women's double sculls. The duo has a double motive for doing well. If they win they will earn the first senior World Championship title for Italian women's rowing.
Finishing times in the semi-finals of the men's four indicate an incredibly tight final. Just two seconds separate the entire field. The United States has a slight edge and after their semi-final race they promised that they have more to deliver in the final.
The women's quadruple sculls has been dominated all season long by Germany and there is no reason to think that will change in the final. Germany's closest competition has come from Poland but they will meet Canada for the first time and, after results from their heat, Canada may surprise.
Croatia has had the upper hand over Olympic Champions, Germany for most of the season in the men's quadruple sculls. The Germans will be doing everything to turn that around for the Chungju final. But these two crews need to not focus solely on each other. Both Estonia and Great Britain have been improving throughout the week.
The 2013 World Rowing Championships go from 25 August to 1 September 2013 with finals still to come on Saturday 31 August and Sunday 1 September.