First medals awarded at 2017 World Rowing Cup II
On Saturday afternoon in Poznan, Poland, racing at World Rowing Cup II featured A and B Finals in the international and para-rowing events. The weather remained cold at around 12°C and damp for the rowers aiming for the medals.
Para PR1 Women’s Single Sculls (PRW1x) - Final
Three boats lined up in the first final of the day. Birgit Skarstein from Norway is the 2014 World Champion in this event. Having medalled consistently at World Championship level, she unluckily missed the podium at last year’s Paralympic Games. Starting out in front, Skarstein stayed there and increased her lead over Germany’s Sylvia Pille-Steppart and Italy’s Anila Hoxha in third throughout the race. In Friday’s test race, Skarstein had established the para-rowing World Best Time over the 2000m distance at 10:49.94. At the line, the positions remained unchanged.
Results: NOR, GER, ITA
Birgit Skarstein, Norway, gold
“It was a good feeling with nice conditions. I was working toward this World Cup so I am happy. There are still some technical things to improve and now the goal is Sarasota World Championships.”
Sylvia Pille-Steppart, Germany, silver
“I was feeling good going into the race. It was very hard work with the wind, but I’m now looking forward to Sarasota especially as I just missed the qualification for Rio.”
Anila Hoxha, Italy, bronze
“I fought the whole race. It’s a progression from the last years. I like the 2000m because it lasts longer. If everything goes well I will be in Sarasota.”
Para PR1 Men’s Single Sculls (PR1 M1x) - Final
The reigning Paralympic Champion Roman Polianskyi from Ukraine dominated the race from the start. On Friday, he had set the new World Best Time over the 2000m distance at 09:51.32. At the half-way mark, Russia’s Alexey Chuvashev, a multi world medallist and the 2012 Paralympic bronze medallist, followed in second and Poland’s Jaroslaw Kailing in a steady third position. All athletes were rating 35 or higher. At the line Polianskyi crossed in gold, Chuvashev in silver and Kailing, in his first ever A-final, took the bronze.
Results: UKR, RUS, POL1, GER, FRA, BRA
Roman Polianskyi, Ukraine, gold
“I am physically exhausted. Today was very hard, it was very windy, the water was not calm, with a lot of waves. I feel I like the new distance.”
At his first World Rowing regatta ever, Simone Baldini of Italy managed to take the lead, with Paralympian from Lithuania, Augustus Navickas, back in fifth. The leading three crews were within two-thirds of a length of each other at the half-way mark, with Belarus’s Dzmitry Ryshkevich then in the lead, Italy in second and Austria’s Klaus Dolleschal in third. In the final quarter, Navickas from Lithuania moved up through the ranks, increasing his rate to 40, and moving out in front. Italy had fallen back into fourth while Austria had taken over in second.
Results: LTU, AUT, BLR, ITA2, ITA1, HUN
Para PR2 Mixed Double Sculls (PR2 Mix2x) - Final
The Paralympic Champions from Great Britain Lauren Rowles and Laurence Whiteley lined up in lane six, as they did not participate in Friday’s test race. It was the Netherlands, with Annika Van Der Meer and Come De Koning who started out in front and held firmly on to their lead. De Koning finished fourth at the Paralympic Games and this year has changed partners.
Great Britain followed in second and was unable to match the Dutch pace. Ukraine, whose Iaroslav Koilida and Iryna Kyrychenko raced in a steady third position, crossed the line in bronze. The Netherlands took gold and set a new World Best Time in this category over the 2,000m distance at 08:06.21.
Results: NED, GBR, UKR, POL, BRA, RUS
Annika Van Der Meer (b), Netherlands, gold
“We were nervous because we had to race against the Paralympic Champions. We are very happy about the result and about the time, we feel we are rowing faster and faster. We have been rowing together since April so we are still looking for a lot of progress.”
Laurence Whiteley (s), Great Britain, silver
“This was our first international race, so we didn’t have any expectations, but we are pleased. 2000m is a long way, we don’t quite know how to race the 2k just yet. Three and a half minutes to this is quite a big jump, but we’ve been building quite a bit more volume in our training to compensate for it. We’re looking forward to Sarasota.
Iryna Kyrychenko (s), Ukraine, bronze
“In general we were ready and trained for this distance, but we haven’t been rowing together for long. We are not strong now, but we will be stronger, especially for the World Championships.”
Para PR3 Mixed Double Sculls (PR3 Mix2x) - Final
Russia started out at the front of the field, but after catching a crab lost their pace and fell behind, unable to regain their initial position. One of their blades had come out of their oarlock, preventing Olga Kononova from rowing and forcing her partner Evgenii Borisov to do all of the work until the line. Germany took over the lead, with Austria following in second. Germany had set the new World Best Time over 2,000m at 08:04.42 in their test race on Friday and set a new one today at 07:48.15., crossing the line in gold.
Results: GER, AUT, RUS1
Juliane Blaess (b), Tino Kolitscher (s), Germany, gold
“We feel better than yesterday, we had a good feeling of the water and power in the boat. We are very happy today because it is our first title.”
Johanna Beyer (b), Austria, silver
“Quite a tough race. The first 500m was very exciting as everyone was in a line. The last 500m we tried to call a few tens and tried to catch Germany, but they were just a bit too good for us. We much prefer 2000m, we can get into a good rhythm, strategize and try to use some tactics more than over 1000m.”
Para PR3 Mixed Coxed Four (PR3 Mix 4+) - Final
Ukraine boated the same crew that had raced last year at the Paralympic Rowing Regatta. Yesterday, they set the new World Best Time in this event over the 2000m distance at 07:24.68. France, who retains four of the athletes that raced in the Rio B-final, followed in second with Israel back in third. The positions remained unchanged until the line.
Results: UKR, FRA, ISR
Robin Le Barreau, France, silver
“We had a good start, it was a strong fight with Ukraine most of the race, but they got ahead of us. In the last 500m we gave everything and managed to reduce the gap.”
Lightweight Women’s Single Sculls (LW1x)- Final
Local favourite Poland’s Joanna Dorociak stormed out of the starting blocks rating 40 with Sweden’s Emma Fredh following in a very close second and Switzerland’s Patricia Merz in third. Fredh became the European Champion in this event just a few weeks ago, while Merz won gold at World Rowing Cup I and bronze at the European Rowing Championships.
At the half-way mark, Dorociak was still in the lead, Sweden still in second and Merz in third with Denise Walsh from Ireland, this year’s European silver medallist, surprisingly at the very back of the field. With one quarter of the race left to row, New Zealand’s Jackie Kiddle had moved up from her initial sixth position into fourth. In the final strokes, four scullers were all within half a length of each other. Kiddle upped her rate to 40 and crossed the line in a photo finish with Poland in silver and Switzerland one hundredth of a second behind Dorociak in bronze.
Results: NZL, POL1, SUI, SWE1, USA, IRL
Jackie Kiddle, New Zealand, gold
“I am really stoked about that race. I was quite worried to be down at 500m, but I believed in the training and my fitness and that helped pull me through. In the last 500m, I just said drop the clutch and I went.”
Joanna Dorociak, Poland, silver
“I am so excited. It is the first time I reached second place in a world event. My last race in the Europeans was not so good, but I improved a lot. I feel better in this new Filippi boat and I feel much better.”
Patricia Merz, Switzerland, bronze
“I am quite happy, even if it is a bronze medal. During the race I was on the far lane, I tried to stay confident, I didn’t look at the others and I maintained a good pace. My arms are so tired and I was focusing on the legs, but at the end I couldn’t forget so much the pain.”
Leonie Pieper of Germany started out in front with Anastasia Lebedeva of Russia close behind. Sweden’s Annie Svensson stayed in close contact in third. As the race unfolded Pieper increased her stroke rate up to 44 which helped distance herself from the rest of the field. Pieper is a multi medallist at World Championship level in the lightweight women’s quadruple sculls.
But in the final quarter, Austria’s Anja Manoutschehri, who had initially been back at the field, stormed through the ranks overtaking the entire field and finishing ahead, while the Netherlands’s Amber Van Zomeren did her own power racing in lane two, also moving up fast. At the line, Austria crossed first, Sweden’s Svensson second, and the Netherlands third, entirely upsetting the initial order of the race.
Results: AUT, SWE2, NED, RUS, NOR1, GER
Lightweight Men’s Single Sculls (LM1x) - Final
The field was extremely tight at the start, with Kristoffer Brun of Norway pushing out in front to lead the way. Last year he won Olympic bronze and in 2013 was a World Champion in the lightweight double. Following the Norwegian was Slovakia’s Lukas Babac in second and Poland’s Artur Mikolajczewski in third. The positions remained unchanged at the half-way mark and very little separated them - less than one second.
In the third quarter, Poland’s Mikolajczewski made a big push to go out in front, shoving Babac back into second and Norway’s Brun into third. In the final stretch, Mikolajczewski upped his rate to 40, determined to impress his home crowd and win gold. Hungary’s Peter Galambos also stormed to the line, overhauling Brun to cross the line in silver, his third medal of the season. Babac fought the onslaught hard to retain his bronze medal. Unable to withstand the challenge, Brun finished behind in fifth.
Results: POL, HUN, SVK, SLO, NOR1, BRA
Great Britain’s Zak Lee-Green had an early lead. By the half-way mark, Jiri Simanek of the Czech Republic had positioned himself at the head of the field, after pushing past Germany’s Lars Wichert who held on to a steady second position. Simanek remained in the lead until the final quarter. With 150m to go, Simanek, Wichert and New Zealand’s Matthew Dunham were nearly level. The Kiwi then upped his stroke rate to 45, pushing himself ahead of the Czech Republic who fell back into third and crossing the line a few hundredths of a second ahead of Germany, still in second.
Results: NZL, GER1, CZE1, GBR, CZE2, ARG
Artur Mikolajczewski, Poland, gold
“I am very happy, it was my first win in the lightweight single. I didn’t start first, but I managed to take the lead halfway through the race. It is nice to win in Poland because my family is here and can see the race live.”
Peter Galambos, Hungary, silver
“I am very happy to consistently bring results and to stand on the podium again. I am especially happy today because the last two weeks I was not good in preparation and not feeling my best.”
Lukas Babac, Slovakia, bronze
“Pretty good race. It is good to be back on the podium. Medal was a bonus. Much better conditions this afternoon than in the morning. I am looking forward to Lucerne, however, the World Championships in the main priority and I will be preparing for this.”
Lightweight Men’s Pair (LM2-)- Final
The three crews lining up in the A-final of the lightweight men’s pair all launched out of the start at a blistering pace, rating in the mid-40s to low 50s. Great Britain and Ireland have faced each other a number of times already, with Ireland having won gold twice so far this year at World Rowing Cup I and at the European Rowing Championships. Brazil followed the two leaders in third. With one quarter of the race left to row, the crews were overlapping, and the Irish continued to withstand the charge from the British.
With 100m to go, the Irish upped their stroke rate to 41 and at the line took their third gold medal of the season ahead of Great Britain in silver and Brazil in bronze.
Results: IRL, GBR, BRA
Mark O'Donovan (b), Ireland, gold
“It’s about time we’re winning. We’ve been training together for so many years. The competition really came at us and we gave everything we could. Coming into the race, we respected everyone. There are lots of upcoming crews, we like to fear them so we don’t get complacent.”
Joel Cassells (b), Great Britain, silver
“It’s a step in the right direction. We improved compared to Belgrade and Racice. Today is a good day. Our goal is to step up for Lucerne and later for the World Championships.”