First crews to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics at World Rowing Championships
The 2019 World Rowing Championships completed racing in the heats today. In Linz-Ottensheim, Austria. The starts were intense, the finish line even more intense in these calm, hot conditions. The first Olympic qualifiers were decided in the women’s quadruple sculls and the women’s and men’s eights raced to close finishes.
Women’s Quadruple Sculls (W4x) – Heats
A lot was at stake in this boat class. There were two heats and the winner of each heat would get to go directly to the final. But more importantly that boat would qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. With eight boats qualifying at this regatta and six boats in the final a win would be the first qualifier for this regatta.
Heat One was stacked with the gold, silver and bronze medallists from last year’s World Championships. Poland took gold, Germany silver and the Netherlands bronze. Germany had won gold at the final World Cup this season. And these three boats led the way. The Netherlands had the lead over Poland and Germany with the final sprint beginning. Then the United States took chase. The Dutch went to 38. Poland was at 39 but they were not closing the gap. Germany remained in third with the United States giving it their all. The Dutch were at 42 and they got to the line just a fraction ahead of Poland. The Netherlands recorded 6:17 for the win. Finishing order: NED, POL, GER, USA, ITA, ROU
The Netherlands had qualified for the Olympics.
Heat Two got away evenly with China the first to show. They won gold at the first and second World Cup and they were one of the favourite crews. Great Britain followed in second and was part of a line that included New Zealand, France and Australia. China had now moved away to a full boat length lead and then to an open water lead with just 700m rowed. The line behind the Chinese remained tight. China continue to move away with New Zealand now in second, but only just. Great Britain was in third. China took gold at the Olympics in 2008 in this boat class and they came through to the finish looking smooth and relaxed at a 36 stroke rate. New Zealand went to 38 with Great Britain at 35. China went to 40 and crossed the line in 6:18. Finishing order: CHN, NZL, GBR, RUS, AUS, FRA
China had qualified for the Tokyo Olympics.
Qualifiers: NED, CHN
Women’s Eight (W8+) – Heats
The goal here was to be first for a direct path to the final. It would also mean one step closer to Olympic qualification with five boats qualifying from this regatta. There were two heats with a total of 11 countries entered. In Heat One Australia was the first to show but then they were overtaken by the World Champions, the United States. Australia took chase and these two boats broke away from the rest of the field with Romania back in third. Australia took gold at World Cup II and then silver at World Cup III. The United States tried to break away from Australia. In the final sprint the US were at 36 and were holding off the Australia at 40. The Americans must have been loving this as they increased their lead over Australia. The US had won. Australia then saw Russia coming. The Russians closed the gap but had left it too late. US time of 6:07. Finishing order: USA, AUS, RUS, ROU, NED, DEN
Heat Two got off with Great Britain rating 47, but New Zealand was the first to show. New Zealand was at 40 and underrating the rest of the field. They got to the first 500m in the lead over Great Britain and Germany. Then Canada started to come up on Germany as New Zealand marched away from the field. The black New Zealand boat now had a full boat length over Great Britain in second. Coxed by Caleb Shepherd, who is known for coxing Eric Murray and Hamish Bond to a men’s coxed pair gold medal, pushed his crew on. They now had an open water lead. Now China was trying to come up on Great Britain with Canada going with the Chinese. At 38 in the final sprint, New Zealand crossed the line first. Their time: 6:04. Finishing Order: NZL, GBR, CHN, CAN, GER
Qualifiers: USA, NZL
Men’s Eight (M8+) – Heats
There were two spots available into the final from these two heats. This would put them a step closer to Tokyo Olympic qualification as five boats would qualify from this regatta. In Heat One the World Champions, Germany was up after 150m. Their bright green boat was moving fast and they were leading a virtual line that formed behind them. Canada had their bow ball ahead of the chasing fleet, but there was nothing in it. Canada and Australia now went stroke-for-stroke through the second 500 as Germany marched away at the head of the field. Canada then got a very slight edge over Australia. But then Australia went to 43 and came back on Canada. The Australian piece worked and they not only got ahead of Canada, but started to move away and up on Germany. Canada had no reply.
Australia was now at 44 coming into the final sprint with Germany holding them off at 38. Could Australia maintain this punishing pace? Germany was unfazed and moved again away from Australia. Germany eased right off before the line to win in a time of 5:30. Finishing order: GER, AUS, CAN, ITA, RUS
For Heat Two, there was nothing in it with 100m rowed. Great Britain then got their nose in front with the United States and New Zealand level for second. Great Britain has beaten Germany this season – the first loss for the Germans in a while. Then New Zealand beat Great Britain at the Henley Royal Regatta. Great Britain now had half a boat length lead with the United States just ahead of New Zealand. Then the Netherlands joined the race for second and then overtook New Zealand. Great Britain tried to move away but the United States was ready and held on. The Dutch sat in third with New Zealand in fourth. The Dutch now got ahead of the United States in the final sprint and closed on Great Britain. The Dutch went to 43, the British at 40 and the US at 43. The US had qualified along with Great Britain recording 5:25. Finishing order: GBR, USA, NED, NZL, ROU
Qualifiers: GER, AUS, GBR, USA