Defending champions impress at 2012 World Rowing Junior Championships
New Junior World Champions were crowned in the final day of racing at the 2012 World Rowing Senior & Junior Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.
This included some impressive defending of 2011 titles with Germany’s Anne Beenken again winning the junior women’s single sculls. Lithuania’s Milda Valciukaite and Ieva Adomaviciute successfully defended their 2011 title in the junior women’s double sculls while Germany again won the junior men’s double sculls with Kai Fuhrmann making it two golds in a row. Italy men’s eight successfully defended their title with a nearly new crew and Romania’s men’s pair also defended for their country with a new crew.
The conditions remained hot and sunny at the Plovdiv course with these junior rowers enjoying flat calm conditions and only a smidgen of wind.
Junior Men’s Pair (JM2-) – Final
Romania’s Neculai Aniculesei and Dumitru Mariuc had the best time coming through from the semifinals that were raced yesterday and it was looking good for them as they moved away in the lead of this A-final. Last year Romania won this event but with two other rowers. Last year Aniculesei and Mariuc were third in the junior men’s four.
Today Romania led through the half-way point with Greece’s Michail Kouskouridas and Athanasios Tsialios following in second. Greece finished with bronzed last year and it looked as though they were moving up this year. But margins were close with Germany and Serbia very much on the pace to challenge not only for silver but also for gold.
A further 500m of rowing did not really sort anything out, with less than a second and a half separating the top four crews. Could the Romanian’s hold on? All crews sprinted. Aniculesei and Mariuc demonstrated the best sprint to take a well-deserved gold. Kouskouridas and Tsialios held on to silver with Serbia’s Igor Loncarevic and Andreja Sljukic getting the better of Germany to take bronze.
Results: ROU, GRE, SRB, GER, CZE, HUN
Dumitru Mariuc (ROU) – Gold
“It was a tough race, though we had expected to win the gold medal. We knew Greece would be difficult to beat because they have a strong tradition in this sport. We were very motivated because last year we got a bronze medal at the Junior World Championships, so our next goal was to win the gold.”
Anathasios Tsialios (GRE) – Silver
“The start was the most difficult part for us. We did everything to try to win in the last 500m but we were too tired. We’re still happy with the result. ”
Andreja Sljukic (SRB) – Bronze
“It feels great to get a bronze. We had a bad start and it was very difficult to get ourselves back into the medals. We had a very hard battle with Germany.”
Chirstopher Black and Joel Cassells of Ireland led the way in this B-final. They finished fourth in the semifinal yesterday, just missing out on making the A-final. Black and Cassells still had the lead through the middle of the race with Poland chasing hard. The field was relatively spread out coming into the final sprint but it then began to close. Croatia, from third were flying. With 100m left to row Croatia had got their boat ahead of Poland and continued to move on the leaders.
Ireland, rating 37, held on to the lead to finish seventh in the world for 2012. Croatia took eighth overall with Poland earning ninth overall.
Results: IRL, CRO, POL, FRA, BEL, USA
Junior Women’s Double Sculls (JW2x) – Final
Lithuania’s Milda Valciukaite and Ieva Adomaviciute came to this final as the defending Junior Champions. They also had the fastest qualifying time from yesterday’s semifinal and there was little doubt that it was looking good for them to hold on to their title. But Romania’s Ionela-Livia Lehaci and Andreea Asoltanei were having a great regatta and they had a good chance of pushing the Lithuanian’s.
France and Germany had the best start with Germany’s crew, including Julia Leiding who finished second in this event in 2011. France’s Elodie Ravera-Scaramozzino and Eleonore Dubuis got to the 500m mark in first with Germany following in second. These two boats remained the leaders coming into the 1000m mark. Then Romania did a big push just near the 1000m landmark over-bridge on the Polvdiv course and closed on Germany. Lithuania followed suit about 200m later with the top four boats moving through the third 500 virtually together.
Valciukaite and Adomaviciute continued to build their boat speed as Romania moved into the lead. The final sprint was all about Lithuania. Adomaviciute and Valciukaite’s devastating sprint propelled them into the lead and they didn’t stop there. By the line the Lithuanians had not only defended their 2011 title, but they had done it by building up to an open water lead in the last 100m of the race. Romania had held on to second with Germany’s Leiging and partner Carlotta Nwajide having to settle for bronze.
Results: LTU, ROU, GER, HUN, FRA, USA
Ieva Adomaviciute (LTU) – Gold
“I can’t believe we won! It feels like a dream. We always believed that we could win the gold though. It’s very important to push hard and have a quick start, but the last 500m were really difficult. The other crews were very strong. We’ve worked very hard for this win.”
Ionela-Livia Lehaci (ROU) – Silver
“We moved about a lot in the field because it was such a tough race. I think we could have raced better, but I’m happy with the result.”
Carlotta Nwajide (GER) – Bronze
“I didn’t see much at the end, just making sure to get the oars in and out. We gave everything we had. That was our goal before the start and that’s what we did. Even though we won silver last year, the bronze is great – especially when you know that you gave it all. The others were just better today and that’s part of the sport.”
Croatia and Poland were the two crews that just missed out on making the A-finals in yesterday’s semifinals, but today it was Switzerland that was joining Croatia at the head of the field. Croatia’s Ivana Krkljus and Zana Krakic remained in the lead using a rather low 32 stroke rate.
Meanwhile Poland had got the better of Switzerland and, rating 35, had moved into second. The handy lead that Krkljus and Krakic had built up was being whittled away by Justyna Wika and Marta Wieliczko of Poland. But Croatia had more to give. Taking their stroke rate to 38, the Croatian’s remained in the lead. Poland had to be content with second.
Results: CRO, POL, GBR, SUI, DEN, SWE
Junior Men’s Double Sculls (JM2x) – Final
Kai Fuhrmann of Germany was in the boat last year that won gold in the junior men’s double. He was back again this year with new partner, Ole Daberkow and together they came to this final with the fastest qualifying time from yesterday’s semifinal. Fuhrmann and Daberkow showed their superiority by taking off in the lead and over-rating all other crews through the first 500m. This left Switzerland, Latvia and Estonia in a virtual line behind the leading Germans.
As Fuhrmann and Daberkow built up a growing lead, Latvia’s Kriss Kalnins and Gints Zunde tried to break away from Estonia and Switzerland while Belgium and Poland dropped off the pace. Through the middle of the race Kalnins and Zunde had moved clearly into second in their first ever international final. Could they catch the Germans?
Fuhrmann and Daberkow continued to power on in the lead with Switzerland’s Damien Tollardo and Barnabe Delarze now breaking away from Estonia. The order of medallists had already been decided coming into the final sprint. Fuhrmann had won his second junior champion title. Daberkow had won his first. Latvia had taken the silver and Switzerland became the 2012 bronze medallists.
Results: GER, LAT, SUI, EST, BEL, POL
Kai Fuhrmann (GER) – Gold
“This is great and we are very happy. We had high expectations and wanted to win. All went according to plan and on the last 250m we knew that definitely nobody would be able to pass us. It’s been a great regatta and very goo organisation.”
Kriss Kalnins (LAT) – Silver
“I feel very good, but exhausted. We didn’t expect more as there were very good teams like the Germans. We did what we expected to do. It was a very difficult race, the most difficult in our life, especially in the last 250m. But the conditions were almost perfect, which helped us winning this medal.”
Barnabe Daberkow (SUI) – Bronze
“We had a really good start, but the Germans were faster. Our second 500 were not very good, but on the third 500 we managed a big push as we knew this part was a bit of a weakness for us. We are very happy with the result as winning a medal is just great.”
Last year France took silver in this boat class but this year they competed in the B-final. Quentin Charras-Antognelli and Pierre Houin of France had the lead at the start with the United States following in second. The US continued the challenge France through the middle of the race and these two crews broke away from the field with only Slovenia in a position to challenge.
The United States had been the next fastest qualifier from yesterday’s semifinal, but coming into the final sprint the margins between all of the six crews had closed up and any crew with a big sprint could still win. Charras-Antognelli and Houin held it all together the best and crossed the line in first. Richard Wagner and Chase Buchholz of the United States, using a big 43 stroke rate sprint, held on to second. Slovenia came through in third.
Results: FRA, USA, SLO, NOR, SRB, LTU
Junior Women’s Eight (JW8+) – Final
In the preliminary race on Thursday Romania won. This gave them the centre lane here today with Germany on one side of them and the United States on the other. Last year Romania finished second with Germany taking the gold.
Romania had the fastest start with the United States coming through in second. Stroked by Denisa-Maria Albu at her first international event, Romania remained in the lead through the middle of the race as the United States held on to second. In the US boat the stroke was Mia Croonquist who took gold last year at the World Rowing Junior Championships in the women’s four.
Meanwhile Italy, Germany and Russia were fighting it out for the bronze. With Romania and the United States clearly in the lead the sprint to the line was on for Russia, Italy and Germany. The Italian crew was made up of their junior four plus the junior pair, the Lo Bue sisters who had won gold yesterday in the pair. They looked smooth and together as they pushed ahead of Germany to get into the bronze medal spot. The Lo Bue sisters thus became the only rowers at this regatta to win two medals.
A very happy Romania had taken gold by leading from start to finish with the United States rowing through to silver. This was the first time Italy had ever won a medal in junior women’s eights.
Results: ROU, USA, ITA, GER, RUS, BUL
Gianina-Elena Beleaga (ROU) – Gold
“We thought we would win, but then you never know. There are so many emotions in the crew right now. The last 500m is always the most difficult because we couldn’t even think, we just knew we had to row. We have been rowing together for three months and get on really well with each other, we’re good friends.”
Amanda Rutherford (USA) – Silver
“We were definitely inspired by the women’s eight’s gold medal at the Olympics and really wanted to do the USA proud. In the third 500m we knew we had to push ourselves and that was our best 500m. We’ve been training together for two months.”
Federica Cesarini (ITA) – Bronze
“We were neck and neck with the Germans until the 1500m mark, but we expected this. We really attacked in the last 500m. We always believed that we could win this medal. This is the first ever medal for Italian women in an eight.”
Junior Men’s Single Sculls (JM1x) – Final
Slovenia’s Jernej Markovc had the fastest time from yesterday’s semifinal by two seconds over Germany. But it was Michal Plocek of the Czech Republic that came flying out of the start and although he settled at a lower, 32 stroke rate pace compared to his competition, Plocek remained in the lead. Plocek finished ninth in this event last year and is one of the few scullers in this event to have competed last year.
Plocek remained in the lead going through the middle of the race with Markovc chasing hard. But Plocek’s lead was now formidable and Markovc was having to keep an eye on China’s Ganggang Li. Li has raced once before at the international level ,competing last year in the quad at the senior World Rowing Cup.
The lead remained with Plocek with Poland’s Natan Wegrzycki-Szymczyk now moving up on China and going after Slovenia. In the sprint to the line Plocek was able to enjoy the margin that he had produced earlier on to finish first with Markovc coming through in second and Li winning the battle with Poland to take bronze for China.
Results: CZE, SLO, CHN, GER, POL, AZE
Michal Plocek (CZE) – Gold
“I never believed I could win a gold medal. I can’t believe I’m actually the winner, even though I was preparing all season to win. It’s an amazing feeling, which I cannot describe.”
Jernej Markovc (SLO) – Silver
“I feel tired and exhausted. I had some problems with the rhythm and it was very difficult to keep the pace. The middle 1000m was the most difficult. But now I’m happy it’s over and I’m thrilled. I’ve been competing for seven years and after seventh and fifth place, this medal means a lot to me. I don’t race to become a national hero like Iztok Cop, but I really enjoy rowing and who know if I continue, becoming a national hero might come as a bonus, but it’s not the reason. ”
Li Ganggang (CHN) – Bronze
“I never thought I would win a bronze medal because the others row better than me. I’m unbelievably happy and I think that Chinese people will be proud. This is my first time that I’ve been at an international competition. I started rowing in 2008 after the Olympic Games. I was found by talent identification.”
Slovakia’s Richard Vanco had a very fast start. Vanco finished fourth in yesterday’s semifinal which meant he just missed out in the A-final. Today Vanco was giving it his all in this B-final. Settling into a 30 stroke rate pace, Vanco tried to move away from Belarus’s Pilip Pavukou. Vanco and Pavukou then managed to break away from the rest of the field through the middle of the race with the remaining four boats forming a virtual line.
Vanco, at his first junior world championships, remained in the lead coming into the final sprint. It now looked as though Pavukou would have to do something very special to get up with Vanco. Vanco, however, at a 33 stroke rate looked comfortable in the lead getting to the line first.
Results: SVK, BLR, RSA, ARG, NOR, TUN
Junior Women’s Single Sculls (JW1x) – Final
Last year Germany’s Anne Beenken had won this race and she was still young enough to come back to defend it here at Plovdiv in 2012. Beenken had won her semifinal yesterday but today she would face the winner of the other semifinal Romania’s Laura Oprea. This would surely be a close battle.
With only five boats racing due to Denmark’s Emma Kiehn having to withdraw for medical reasons, South Africa’s Jenienne Curr took off in the lead. But there was very little in it at the 400m mark. Then Beenken did a push that got her nose in front with 600m rowed. Curr held on to second and these two scullers moved away from the field. Last year Curr rowed at the World Rowing Junior Championships in her country’s double where she finished first. Today she was doing great in the single.
But there was no doubting the superior sculling of Beenken. She had turned this race into a procession crossing the finish line easily in first to defend her Junior World Championship title. Curr followed in second and Romania’s Laura Oprea came through to take the bronze medal.
Results: GER, RSA, ROU, BLR, ESP
Anne Beenken (GER) – Gold
“I’m very happy. I have been preparing for this for one year. After winning last year, this year the tension was higher as people had expectations, last year nobody knew me. So I’m very happy about this medal. I have been competing since 2007 and started to become better in 2010. I hope you will see me next year at the Under 23s. ”
Jenienne Curr (RSA) – Silver
“I’m tired now, but that’s how you want it to be. You have to make yourself tired to get the results that you want. I tend to start slow so I’ve been working on that in the heat and semi-final. By 500m it was fairly clear who was going to be in the medals, but all three of us just kept pounding away at it. In the last 250 you heard the crowds roaring. All the medals were very well deserved. The (South African) lightweight four has been an inspiration to all of us, we all look up to them. They’ve given us the confidence to make us come through and perform well here. We’re really proud. I’m looking forward to starting my U23 career next year. ”
Laura Oprea (ROU) – Bronze
“I think I could have done better. This is my third time competing at the Junior World Championships. The thing that was so difficult is that the winner was so fast from the beginning. ”
France’s Marie Jaquet just missed out on making the A-final in yesterday’s semifinal and she was doing a great job today in this B-final. Settling into a 31 stroke rate pace France reached the first 500m mark first. But then Haruna Sakakibara of Japan did a big push and got into the lead. Sakakibara competed at the London Olympics in the single and last year Sakakibara finished seventh at the junior championships.
Going through the middle of the race Sakakibara held on to the lead but now Liselotte van der Togt of the Netherlands was making a move and Sakakibara looked to be tiring. With 400m left to row van der Togt got into the lead with Jaquet pushing hard. At the line van der Togt had finished first, Jaquet was second and Sakakibara held on to third.
Results: NED, FRA, JPN, SUI, POL, SWE
Junior Men’s Eight (JM8+) – Final
In Thursday’s heats Italy recorded the fastest time which boded well for them to defend their 2011 Junior Champion title. Just one rower, Pietro Zileri, remained in the Italian boat from last year. Today they faced, for the first time, this year last year’s bronze medallists, Germany.
Italy showed strongly at the start getting just ahead of Germany with Great Britain (who were second in 2011) in the leading mix.
Through the 1000m mark Italy, rating 37, remained in front with Romania now moving into second after doing a huge piece at the 800m mark. Great Britain followed in third with the margins between these leading crews dangerously close. Germany then moved and pushed past both Romania and Great Britain to move into second. The sprint was on to the line. Could Italy hold off the Germans?
Italy took their stroke rate to 38 with Germany on 39 and Great Britain and Romania pushing back. The Italians celebrated. They had defended their 2011 title. Germany had held on to silver with Great Britain taking the bronze. There was no doubting the jubilation in the Italian boat as several members stood up to salute the crowd.
Results: ITA, GER, GBR, ROU, USA, TUR
Pietro Zileri (ITA) – Gold
“Of course we’re very, very happy. The Italian rowing squad here are like brothers and sisters to me, even though we’ve only been rowing together for 50 days. My dream is to go to the USA to study and train there.”
Florian Harsdorff (GER) – Silver
“We had thought that we might get the silver medal, we wanted it really badly and hoped for it. It was our goal to get a medal here. The Romanians were attacking in the middle thousand. This is always our weak point. ”
Thomas George (GBR) – Bronze
“Our inspiration was the success of Great Britain in the Olympics, particularly David Tanner. We were hoping for a medal here. This is our first World Championships and we’ve been rowing together for four weeks.”
Bulgaria made the most of their home advantage and took off in the lead. The crowd was appreciative. But margins were close and by the half-way point Denmark had moved into the lead. Denmark were the slowest qualifiers from the repechage but they were on form today remaining in the lead. In the final sprint Denmark, rating 37, held on to the first place position with Serbia getting the better of Bulgaria about 100m before the line.
Results: DEN, SRB, BUL