It’s fast in Tokyo. World Best Time broken at rowing’s junior championships
It was hot. The pace was fast. The 2019 World Rowing Junior Championships moved on to day two of heats at the Sea Forest Waterway in Tokyo, Japan. With a strong tail wind, the boats moved quickly, but they had to deal with rough water and hot, humid conditions.
Women’s Coxed Four (JW4+) – Heats
This boat class had two heats and the goal was to finish first for a direct path to the finals on Sunday. In Heat One Italy jumped out quickly and clocked a 44 stroke rate pace. As the crowd began to grow at the Sea Forest Waterway regatta course, Italy continued to lead and pull away from the field. Behind them France Australia and the United States were absolutely neck-and-neck. Then the United States managed to get a very small margin over France and Australia. Italy, the 2018 World Champions, remained easily in front. The United States secured second, but will have to race in the repechage. Italy had won and set a new junior World Best Time. Their time of 7:00.35 was two seconds faster than the former time that was owned by the Americans.
Germany led the way in Heat Two and at a pace to put the World Best Time under threat. The Germans had three reigning World Champions on board from other boats and by the middle of the race they had open water over China in second. South Africa was back quite a way in third. But then China pulled out a huge third 500m piece and they had overhauled Germany. The Germans seemed to have no response. What a piece! Germany then went from 34 to 35 to come back on China. China went to 36. In the last few strokes China took the win and rest the World Best Time. Breaking the 7 minute barrier, China’s time was 6:58.18. Germany also went under seven minutes.
Qualifiers: ITA, CHN
Men’s Coxed Four (JM4+) – Heats
Two heats lined up and the goal for these two heats was to be in a top two spot for a direct path to the finals. China led the way in Heat One and by the middle of the race they had two seconds on Ireland with South Africa right on the pace and being challenged by Australia. South Africa and Australia then held a battle that saw them hold on to Ireland who was now challenging China. The ratings went into the high 30’s. China only just got there on the surge of the stroke with Ireland only just making second ahead of the charging South Africans.
Germany led at the start of Heat Two and they kept a wary eye on France who was pacing them very closely. France and Germany then used their leading battle to pull away from the rest of the field. Germany and France remained totally level. They were both easily in the qualifying spots but neither crew was giving up. France then did a piece and upped their stroke rate. Germany went to 42 and fought back. France was at 39. Germany had done it.
Qualifiers: CHN, IRL, GER, FRA
Women’s Pair (JW2-) – Heats
The goal here was to finish first out of the two heats that lined up. This would earn a direct path to Sunday’s finals. Heat One began with Anna Santruckova and Eliska Podrazilova of the Czech Republic in the lead. The Czech duo finished second in this race last year and must have been the favourites going into this race. China and Australia followed very closely. Then the Czechs managed to get a little bit of a lead with China managing to break away from Australia. It was still the Czech Republic leading the way in the final sprint holding a solid 35. They recorded the fastest qualifying time.
It was the Italians in the lead at the start of Heat Two. Matilde Barison and Greta Schwartz of Italy led through the first 800. Then Germany powered through into the lead. But then Greece started to come into their own and at the half way point just two seconds separated the top three boats. Greece went to 37 at the 1500m mark. Ismini Noni and Athina Zacharoula Ditsiou of Greece took on Germany. The Germans saw them coming and responded. Greece went to 39 with Germany underrating but remaining strong and powerful. It was so, so close. Greece won last year in this boat class. This year is a new crew. It was neck-and-neck at the line. Germany had taken it.
Qualifiers: CZE, GER
Women’s Four (JW4-) – Heats
This boat class had two heats and the goal was to be in a top two spot for a direct path to the finals on Sunday. At the start of Heat One Italy took the early lead with New Zealand and Romania chasing hard. Italy had three members of their crew that raced as juniors last year and they now got nearly a boat length over New Zealand who were now moving away from Romania. The sprint was on and New Zealand at 38 attacked the Italian lead. Italy was also at 38 and they managed to hold off the Kiwis.
The reigning World Champions, the United States lined up in this race - Heat Two. But it was Germany that was leading the way. The Germans had three junior team returners in the boat and by the middle of the race they still had the lead. But China was coming. The Chinese crew had broken away from the United States and Denmark and they were going after Germany. The Chinese continued to charge. They went to 39 and overtook Germany. Who would hold it to the end? China had held the lead and had qualified with the fastest time overall.
Qualifiers: ITA, NZL, CHN, GER
Men’s Four (JM4-) – Heats
There were two heats in the men’s four and the goal here was to finish in a top two position for a direct path to Sunday’s final. In Heat One Germany had a small early lead with Italy and Romania right on the pace. The Germans kept a fast pace but they couldn’t shake Italy and Romania. At the half way point just half a second separated the top three boats. Germany decided enough was enough and they managed to get nearly a boat length lead. Italy came back with Romania following suit. Italy gave it their all at 41 to close on Germany. The Germans managed to just hold them off at 39 strokes per minute.
A slight delay happened for Heat Two with the United States getting a yellow card for being late to the start. The US got away quickly. Two members of this US crew had raced last year in this boat class where they finished 10th. But Great Britain were the reigning World Champions and they chased the Americans hard. The US then managed to get a boat length lead over the British who were now under threat from Greece. Greece went to 39 strokes per minute and overtook Great Britain at 36. Greece now were overlapping with the USA. The United States knew they had to react. Greece went to 40 and they had overhauled the Americans. The US went to 40 as they saw the British coming. Greece took the win.
Qualifiers: GER, ITA, GRE, USA
Men’s Eight (JM8+) – Heats
Two heats lined up in the men’s eight and the mission here was to finish first for a direct path to the final. Great Britain is the reigning World Champions and they came out in second place in Heat One. Instead, out in front was Hungary. But it was oh so close with Croatia also right up with the action. Great Britain then closed the lead that Hungary had tried to build. Just after the half way point Great Britain had broken into the lead. Hungary held on with these two crews remaining locked together. China, at the back of the field, now tried to move up on Croatia. Hungary then looked to be running out of fuel and Great Britain was able to move to a bigger lead and win the race.
Heat Two opened with Germany having the faster opening pace. But it was much faster than the United States. The US finished second last year and they have two returners from that crew Germany’s crew had returning juniors that had raced in other boats in 2018. The Germans then managed to get a boat length lead over the US who sat on 36. Germany. At 37, then managed to break away from the United States. In the final sprint Germany went to 39 to take an open water lead and cross the line in first.
Qualifiers: GBR, GER