Denmark squeaks through to lightweight four final
Nail-biting semifinals at the 2011 World Rowing Championships in Bled, Slovenia continued to see boats earn qualifying spots for the 2012 Olympic Games. It also meant that the line up for the finals were decided. In the lightweight men’s four Olympic Champions, Denmark nearly missed out when a sprint to the line saw them almost toppled by Poland.
Crews enjoyed warm and calm conditions on the 2000m Lake Bled regatta course with a slight bumps in the water towards the end of racing.
Lightweight Women’s Single Sculls (LW1x) – Semifinals
In the heats on Sunday Great Britain’s Katherine Copeland had made a clear statement. The 2011 under-23 champion had recorded the fastest qualifying time. Today Copeland, 19, raced in semifinal one and, again, took control. Using a high 34 stroke rate, Copeland stayed ahead of Switzerland’s World Champion, Pamela Weisshaupt. Weisshaupt, at a much lower stroke rate, stuck close in second as these two boats moved away from the rest of the field. The order did not change to the line with Lena Mueller of Germany coming through in third to join Copeland and Weisshaupt in qualifying for the final.
Finishing order: GBR, SUI, GER, JPN, POL, ALG
Semifinal two recorded the fastest qualifying time when Brazil’s Fabiana Beltrame and Ursula Grobler of the United States went head-to-head. Grobler has set her sights on rowing in the lightweight double at the 2012 Olympic Games, but failed to make the boat this year for her country. Instead, Grobler is racing in the single and she took on the winner of the second World Rowing Cup, Beltrame. Beltrame held the lead for the first half of the race before Grobler took over in the lead. Using a 34 stroke rate Grobler got to the line first with Beltrame, at 31, following in second. Canada’s Tracy Cameron followed in third. These three scullers qualified for the finals on Friday.
Finishing order: USA, BRA, CAN, HUN, NED, HKG
Lightweight Men’s Single Sculls (LM1x) – Semifinals
When Henrik Stephansen of Denmark won two World Cups this season he marked a new-found speed. Today Stephansen continued to show his speed by setting the pace in semifinal one. Behind Stephansen was Andrew Campbell of the United States. It has been a long time since the United States has done well in this event and Campbell’s rise has been phenomenal. Campbell, 19, took bronze last year as a junior then bronze this year at the under-23 level. Coming into the line indoor rowing World Record holder Stephansen remained in first and recorded the fastest qualifying time. Campbell qualified from second and Stany Delayres came through to qualify from third.
Finishing order: DEN, USA, FRA, GER, TUR, SLO
Former three-time World Champion, Duncan Free of New Zealand showed that he is back on form when he took the lead in semifinal two. Italy’s Pietro Ruta challenged hard and nearly caught Grant in the close of the race, but Grant looked in control crossing the line in first. Ruta followed in second and Great Britain’s Adam Freeman-Pask came through to qualify for the final from third.
Finishing order: NZL, ITA, GBR, NOR, EGY, HKG
Men’s Double Sculls (M2x) – Semifinals
Germany has had a mixed season. In 2009 they were World Champions with Eric Knittel and Stephan Krueger but injury has limited Knittel’s time in the boat and at Bled Hans Gruhne has had to fill in. But Krueger and Gruhne have proved to be a strong combination and they finished second at the Lucerne World Rowing Cup. Today Gruhne and Krueger led over Matthew Wells and Marcus Bateman of Great Britain with Olympic Champions David Crawshay and Scott Brennan of Australia following closely in third. Coming into the line the order did not change with these three boats not only making it through to the final but also qualifying for the 2012 Olympic Games.
Finishing order: GER, GBR, AUS, ARG, CAN, CZE
Hans Gruhne (GER)
"We are very excited about the Olympic Games next year, because we have worked really hard for it. Today we have controlled the boat very well. Our goal tomorrow is to get a medal."
Marcus Bateman (GBR)
"Today’s race was very good. Olympic qualification was the goal for this year and we achieved it. Tomorrow is another day and we hope for the best."
David Crawshay (AUS)
"It is always a relief when you qualify for the finals. Olympic qualification is always good for the team. We expected third place, our start wasn’t good, but half way through we knew we could get through to the finals. We are very happy."
Reigning World Champions, Nathan Cohen and Joseph Sullivan of New Zealand showed exactly why they are World Champions. Sullivan and Cohen got through to the lead coming into the second 500 with Slovenian heroes Iztok Cop and Luka Spik chasing hard. The crowd was right behind Cop and Spik who are Slovenia’s medal hope at these championships. The New Zealander’s, however, remained unfazed and, using a solid 41 stroke rate, Sullivan and Cohen brought their boat home first with the fastest qualifying time. Slovenia qualify from second and France’s Cedric Berrest and Julien Bahain get through from third. Slovenia and France also earn their first Olympic qualifying boat. New Zealand also qualifies for the 2012 Olympics.
Finishing order: NZL, SLO, FRA, EST, NOR, LTU
Lightweight Men’s Four (LM4-) – Semifinals
Reigning World Champions, Great Britain had the upper hand at the start of the first semifinal with Australia sticking tightly by them, so tight in fact that Edwards, Beltz, Cureton and Skipworth of Australia managed to gain the lead after a big push at the 900m mark. Edwards, Cureton and Skipworth all raced at the 2008 Olympic Games finishing ninth. Great Britain then pushed back and regained the upper edge.
Often this event finishes in a tight photo finish, but today it was a bit more open. Great Britain crossed the line first, Australia second and China came through in third. These three countries advance to the finals on Friday and these three countries also earn berths at the 2012 Olympic Games.
Finishing order: GBR, AUS, CHN, FRA, GER, RSA
Anthony Edwards (AUS)
“Number one goal was to qualify for the Olympics, number two is to win the World Championships. Today we completed the first task, the second one will hopefully be done tomorrow.”
Li Lei (CHN)
“We were not so good at today’s race, because we wanted to show our power here. We will do better tomorrow. Obviously, we are very happy to go to the Olympic Games.”
At the end of this semifinal, finishing times would mean that just three seconds would separate the field in the final. The second semifinal turned into a very close battle with all six boats very much in it at the start. Then Serbia dropped back leaving the Czech Republic, Denmark, Poland, Italy and Switzerland to fight it out. Italy’s Danesin, Caianiello, Miani and Goretti then inched ahead looking completely focused on their own race. The line of five boats continued through the body of the race.
This race was going to have to be decided in the final sprint.
Poland charged, Italy went to a 43 stroke rate, Denmark was on 44, Switzerland was sticking with them. Italy crossed the line first. It was impossible to tell what happened next. Had Olympic Champions Denmark missed out on the final? The finishing judges decision was in; Italy, Switzerland, Denmark. Poland had missed out on qualifying for the final by 7/100th of a second. Italy, Switzerland and Denmark secure 2012 Olympic Games spots.
Finishing order: ITA, SUI, DEN, POL, CZE, SRB
Martino Goretti (ITA)
“Our main goal is to win tomorrow. It was a good race today, but we could do more. We will try our best tomorrow and at the Olympic Games next year, as well. We have been in the same boat for only three months now, so we have to work on the coordination from now on.”
Lucas Tramer (SUI)
“A big pressure was put on us, because we wanted to qualify for the Olympic Games. Today’s second place only means an easier race tomorrow. It is also my birthday today and I am really happy.”
Jacob Barsoe (DEN)
“I had stomach problems on Monday and Tuesday, so I didn’t have any more energy the last 700 metres. Hopefully I will feel better tomorrow, and we will be able to keep our speed all the way. The main goal for today was to qualify for the Olympics and that’s achieved.”
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