Fighting for the finals at World Rowing Cup I
On the second day of racing at 2017 World Rowing Cup I in Belgrade, Serbia, crews raced in cold and windy conditions. Light rain dampened the rowers intermittently, but overall the waters of Sava Lake remained flat.
In the first semifinals of the regatta, crews raced to cross the line in the top three positions to qualify for Sunday’s A-finals.
Men’s Pair (M2-) - Semifinals
Great Britain’s newcomer crew of Jacob Dawson and Matthew Rossiter clocked the fastest qualifying time in the men’s pair heats at 6:42.81. In Semifinal A/B One of the men’s pair, the British combination started out in front, followed by Rio Olympians Alexander Sigurbjonsson and Pau Vela Maggi from Spain.
At the half-way mark, Great Britain was still in the lead while the Belarusian duo of Dzimitry Furman and Siarhei Valadzko in lane five had overtaken the Spaniards. Furman and Valadzko hail from the Belarusian men’s four that raced in Rio. With 500m left to row, the Spanish had fallen back into fourth position, with the Czech combination of Jakub Podrazil and Lukas Helesic moving up into the third qualifying position. At the line, Spain missed out on the A-final by half a length.
In Semifinal A/B Two, it was Serbia that started in the lead with the Netherlands in hot pursuit. Nenad Bedik and Milos Vasic of Serbia were Olympic B-finalists in this event at Rio 2016. Dutch rower Mitchel Steenman, also a B-finalist in the men’s pair in Rio, is now partnered with Mechiel Versluis who won Olympic bronze last year in the men’s eight. Two Belarusian crews were fighting for the third qualifying spot behind the leading crews.
With 500m left to row, the local Serbian crew had a nearly five-second lead over the second-placed Netherlands, clearly benefiting from the home-water advantage. In the final strokes, the Netherlands and Belarus Two were fighting it out for second and third place, with the Netherlands crossing the line just ahead of Belarus.
Qualifiers: GBR1, BLR1, CZE, SRB, NED, BLR2
Men’s Single Sculls (M1x)
In Semifinal One of the men’s single sculls, Vladislav Ryabcev of Russia One qualified from the heats with the fastest qualifying time. Lining up in middle lane four, he faced winner of Heat Two Marko Marjanovic of Serbia placed in lane three, and Damir Martin of Croatia in lane two. In Rio last year, Martin crossed the line just fractions of a second behind Olympic Champion Mahe Drysdale of New Zealand to claim Olympic silver. Here in Belgrade, Martin finished second in his heat.
Martin rushed out to grab the lead in Semifinal One, and at 500m he led second-placed Russia One by three seconds. At the half-way mark, Martin was still showing off his skills and securing his margin over Ryabcev. Serbia’s Marko Marjanovic followed closely in third. The positions remained unchanged until the line.
Winner of Heat Two from Switzerland, Nico Stahlberg, was seeded into middle lane three in Semifinal Two. Despite a strong start from Lithuania’s Zygimantas Galisanskis, it was Stahlberg who crossed the line first at the 500m mark with the United States’ John Graves in second position and Lithuania One falling back into third. By the half-way mark, Netherlands One, Stefan Broenink, had overtaken Lithuania to move past the United States and edge closer to the Swiss leader.
Belarus’s Stanislau Shcharbachenia finished fifth in the Rio Olympic A-final and he missed a stroke at the start of Semifinal Two. Shcharbachenia impressively moved back up the field throughout the race, overtaking the United States to secure the third qualifying position with 500m to row.
Qualifiers: CRO1, RUS1, SRB, SUI, NED1, BLR
Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls (LM2x)
Great Britain’s Peter Chambers and Will Fletcher and Poland’s Jerzy Kowalski and Milosz Nakowski both won their respective heats yesterday and lined up in middle lanes three and four in Semifinal One of the lightweight men’s double sculls. British sculler Fletcher had finished seventh overall at the Rio 2016 Olympic Rowing Regatta and also owns World and European Championship silver from 2015.
It was Great Britain One leading the field throughout Semifinal One, with Poland following in a steady second position. By the half-way mark the Czech Republic’s Jiri Simanek and Miroslav Vrastil Jr had secured the third qualifying position. The qualifiers remained the same until the line.
The 2016 Olympic silver medallists in this event, brothers Gary and Paul O’Donovan from Ireland lined up in Semifinal Two after winning their heat yesterday. Very little separated the entire field at the 500m mark, with Ireland in fifth. By the half-way mark, Ireland had moved up into the lead and with 500m left to row, the O’Donovan brothers were stamping their authority over the rest of the field. Netherlands One, with Jort Van Gennep and Bart Lukkes, followed in second and Spain with Jesus Gonzalez Alvarez and Patricio Rojas Aznar in third. The positions remained unchanged until the line.
Qualifiers: GBR1, POL, CZE, IRL, NED1, ESP
Lightweight Men’s Single Sculls (LM1x) – Semifinals
Hungary’s experienced Peter Galambos won his heat in the lightweight men’s single sculls yesterday and lined up in lane three in Semifinal One today. Galambos started Semifinal One out in front, with Slovakia’s Lukas Babac following in second. Galambos won world silver last year and Babac world bronze. Babac is also the reigning European Champion.
At the half-way mark the top two positions remained unchanged with Milos Stanojevic from Serbia and Luka Radonic of Croatia fighting for the third qualifying position. In the final strokes, an impressive sprint from Luka Radonic earned him the second spot over Slovakia’s Babac who fell back in third. Serbia misses out on qualification in fourth.
In Semifinal Two, it was Switzerland One with Michael Schmid who secured an early lead with Belgium’s Niels Van Zandweghe, last year’s under-23 World Champion, pursuing in second. By the half-way mark, Poland’s Artur Mikolajczewski had overtaken Belgium.
Poland’s Mikolajczewski was a sixth-place finisher at last year’s Rio Olympic Games in the lightweight men’s double sculls. Switzerland’s Schmid successfully fought off all challenges coming his way from Poland in second and Belgium in third to stay in the lead. The positions remained unchanged until the line.
Qualifiers: HUN, CRO, SVK, SUI, POL, BEL