A record number of 750 athletes will row in 340 boats at the Munich Olympic Rowing Course. The course was the venue of the 1972 Olympic regatta, and will be host to the 2007 World Rowing Championships in August next year.

The highest number of entries are from the host nation and winner of last year’s Rowing World Cup Overall Trophy, Germany, with 85 athletes entered. Last year’s runners up in the World Cup points race Italy and Great Britain have entered 54 and 49 athletes, respectively.

Worth a mention is the very high entry from China, with 23 crews entered in 13 events. Is this an indication of Chinese rowing getting geared up for racing at the 2008 Beijing Olympics?

Always faithful to her position in the women’s single scull, World Champion Ekaterina Karsten from Belarus will be defending her status as Rowing World Cup leader once again this year.

In the absence of New Zealand’s 2005 World Champion Mahe Drysdale at this first stage of the World Cup, the men’s single’s field will be a battle between Olympic gold medallist from Norway Olaf Tufte, 2005 World Cup winner in Ondrej Synek from the Czech Republic, last weekend’s Duisburg winner Marcel Hacker of Germany and a hefty field of 36 new and old names in this event including a promising race-off between Slovenia’s star rowers and 2005 World Rowing male crew of the year award winners Iztok Cop and Luka Spik.

This first stage of the 2006 Rowing World Cup is a chance for many nations to test out some new combinations in real-time conditions as they get geared up for the rest of the World Cup season and the World Rowing Championships in Eton, Great Britain from 20 to 27 August.

The event will be streamed live across Europe on www.eurosport.com and be available for all non-European viewers on the WCSN website www.wcsn.com. In addition, Eurosport will be broadcasting the A Finals of the event live. The event shall be broadcast on several European channels including BBC in the UK – see local TV times for details.

The Rowing World Cup series was launched back in 1997 and includes all 14 Olympic boat classes. The overall Rowing World Cup champions are determined after a series of three regattas. This year, these will be held in Munich, Germany (25 – 27 May), Poznan, Poland (15 – 17 June) and the final in Lucerne, Switzerland (7 – 9 July).

Go to the Rowing World Cup web page of www.worldrowing.com for a full list of entries, a racing timetable as well as an extensive boat class preview. During racing, this website will provide live scoring, interviews, press releases, start lists and full results.