All of the boats racing in Olympic classes of these A Finals had already qualified for the Olympic Games in 2008, with one exception – whoever finished last in the women’s eight. Today the athletes went after World Champion status, and the racing was close, even very close in some events.

In front of a loud and appreciative crowd of 15,000 the 1972 Olympic rowing venue truly came alive. Great Britain responded by making it three World Championhip titles in a row in the women’s quadruple sculls. Poland did the same in the men’s quad. Denmark continued to dominate the lightweight men’s double and Denmark and Germany took the lightweight women’s double to a dead heat. Meanwhile China struggled as two of its 2006 World Champions failed to take medals. Read on to find out.

Men’s coxed four (M4+)

The United States indicated their boat speed during the race for lanes on Wednesday by winning. After a four-day wait they line-up again in the starting blocks to race for medals. Sitting in the boat, Christopher Liwski and Matt Deakin both won a medal last year in the men’s eight. This year they are joined by Dan Beery and Samuel Burns in this International event. The United States took the lead ahead of the Netherlands and Serbia. Serbia included Nikola Stojic and Goran Jagar who raced in the men’s pair final yesterday and qualified that boat for the Olympic Games.

A push through the middle of the race brought the Serbians into the lead. But the lead was small, the United States fought back. Stroke rates rose into the high 30s with the crowd at the finish line seeing the Germans come up. At the line the USA had come through to take gold, Serbia earn silver and Germany win bronze. This race is historic as it is the last year that the event will be raced at the World Rowing Championships.

After the finish United States coxswain Edmund Del Guercio described having to turn his cox box up towards the end of the race as the crowd was so loud.

Matt Deakin (USA) – Gold medallists: “You always hope for gold. We were up against other good crews, we didn’t know what to expect, so we are very pleased with the result.”

Nikola Stojic (SRB) – Silver medallists: “This was our second race together in this line up. I am not totally happy about the second place, but we are satisfied.”(Nicola Stojic)

Stephan Koltzk (GER) – Bronze medallists: “We fought very hard, I’ve rarely had such a hard race before. Today we couldn’t do anymore, so we are happy with the third place.”


Lightweight men’s pair (LM2-)

Australia’s Ross Brown and Michael McBride jumped out at the start using a long catch style. This left 2007 Under 23 Champions from Italy, Andrea Caianiello and Armando Dell’Aquila to slip into second. The Italians looked relaxed despite their youth, 19 and 20 years old respectively, with Caianiello having just started rowing in 2005. Australia remained in the lead going through the third 500 of the race, but both Italy and the Kuehner twins from Germany were putting Brown and McBride’s gold medal chances under threat.

Looking effortless, Caianiello and Dell’Aquila overtook Australia. Germany followed suit. Brown and McBryde looked spent. France charged. The Italians take gold, Germany silver and Australia only just holds on for bronze. At the finish German stroke Martin Kuehner managed to turn round to hug his brother while keeping the boat balanced.

Andrea Caianiello (ITA): “This was a very difficult race, the Australians almost made us die. Then there were still the Germans. On the last 500 we just gave everything. We are very happy as this is our second winning after the U23 this year.” (Andrea Caianiello)

Jochen Kuehner, Martin Kuehner (GER) – Silver medallists: “It’s just the best we ever experienced, the crowd on the grandstand is amazing, they help you so much on the last 200 metres. We are so overwhelmed, we don’t even feel how hard the race actually was.” (GER team)

Michael McBryde (AUS) – Bronze medallists: “Our plan was to race hard from the start and try to win. It didn’t quite work out, and we paid heavily in the last 200 metres. We were pleased to hold on for a medal. The course is beautiful to race on, we cannot complain.”


Lightweight women’s quadruple sculls (LW4x)

China jumped out in the lead in this event that they reign as the World Champions as well as being the World Best Time holders. They have also added to the stroke position Shimin Yan who won gold in the lightweight double. But, surprisingly, China didn’t last long in front. Tara Kelly, stroking for Australia, won silver earlier this season at the under 23 champs, and she was taking her boat through to the lead, disregarding the talent in the Chinese boat. Great Britain also decided to disregard China’s talent and through the third 500 they had moved ahead of the Chinese.

Coming to the line Australia upped the intensity, Great Britain charged, China had no answer. Gold to Australia.

Alice McNamara (AUS) – Gold medallists: “This was only our second race in this season after the heat in the champs, so it was four months working hard for this race. We had an amazing rhythm, it was one of the easiest races I have ever done. Our coach Ellen is just amazing, we owe her so much.”

Laura Greenhalgh (GBR) – Silver medallists: “We’ve always had a strong move at 1250. We had to go to really make a difference.”
“When Sophie called out at the end, I knew we just had to bloody go. I knew our rhythm was carrying us. We tried to attack the Aussies, it was a good race, and this is my first medal since 1999. This boat is a great combination of youth and experience. I’m the grandma.” (Jane Hall)

Shimin Yan (CHN) – Bronze medallists: “We went for gold, unfortunately failed, and maybe should have trained harder.”


Pettinari celebrates the Italian win

 ?mediaid=354108&x0=77&y0=5&x1=337&y1=145&zoom=1" title="Getty Images"> Halliday and Houston finish ahead of the Chinese

 ?mediaid=354109&x0=86&y0=20&x1=346&y1=160&zoom=0.9" title="Getty Images"> Quist celebrats for Denmark, Rasmussen recovers

 Men’s quadruple sculls (M4x)

Sitting in bow seat of the Polish boat is Konrad Wasielewski. He has never lost a race at the international level. Joining the quad for his country in 2005, Wasielewski is part of the boat that has won every race since. Today they took off at the head of the field stroked by senior member Adam Korol. Settling into a solid 33 to 34 strokes per minute the Czech Republic, Germany and France remained within striking distance. But the Poles looked well in control.

Germany, stroked by Robert Sens joined by young German team members – Karsten Brodowski who became under 23 champion last year in the single and Hans Gruhne did the same as a junior last year – were doing all they could to latch on to the Poles. Poland remained in the lead.

The six crews moved in to the final sprint. Poland still looked in control. Germany tried to hold on. France went for broke. Poland become three in a row World Champions, France’s awesome sprint gives them silver and Germany take bronze.

Marek Kolbowicz (POL) – Gold medallist: “We had a good race, it feels special to win another gold for Poland. Now the next step is the Olympic Games."

Julien Bahain (FRA) – Silver medallist: “It was a very strong and competitive race. I did not look left or right. On the last 200 meters, I closed my eyes, and kept the rhythm to finish successfully. I am very happy.”

Rene Bertram (GER) – Bronze medallist: “This race and the bronze medal was a great finish of this regatta. For next year we’ll have to wait and see. Everything will be mixed up again I think.”


?mediaid=354112&x0=119&y0=31&x1=379&y1=171&zoom=1" title="Getty Images">Women’s eight (W8+)

As only five boats qualify for the Olympics in this class, whoever came last today in this race would be devastated. That was not on the minds of nine women in the US boat. The United States won gold last year but had been given a scare with the return to international rowing of a bunch of Romania’s Olympic Champion eight from 2004. What plan would coach Tom Terhaar have to stop the Romanians? As the race unfolded the plan must have been to get out fast, take the lead and remain there. Right from the start the United States were in the lead. They settled into a 38 stroke rate, stretched out and waiting for any attacks to come. The slower starting Romanians were at the back of the field after 500m. They had moved through to fourth by the half-way point.

Meanwhile Great Britain were rowing a superb race in the middle of the field with the fast starting, high rating Canadians slipping back. At the line the United States had done it. Two in a row. Romania came through to take second and a very happy Great Britain earn bronze. Canada, at the back of the field, will not qualify for the Olympics at this regatta.

Zsuzsanna Francia (USA) – Gold medallist: “We believed, we asserted our will. It was amazing and the crowd was awesome. Mary was fantastic, she led us to victory."

Ana Maria Apachitei (ROU) – Silver medallist: “It was a very good, but very hard competition. We always have to be there from the start."

Natasha Howard (GBR) – Bronze medallist: “It is incredible. This year has been really great. I am very happy that we qualified for the Olympics."


Men’s eight (M8+)

Leaping out at the start at a 44 stroke rate, Canada continued where they had left off at the last Rowing World Cup – leading races from start to finish. Obviously the Olympic curse of winning this event in the year before the Olympics was not on their mind. Winning was.

Germany, in the outside lane, took chase with Russia trying to hold the pace. As Russia began to slip back, the United States came through. But the Olympic Champions, USA, didn’t seem to have the goods today. Great Britain then moved up. Canada remained well in the lead. Germany heard the crowd and did everything in their powers to mow Canada down. At the line Canada become World Champions for the first time since 2003. Last year’s World Champions Germany take silver and Great Britain earn bronze.

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