France comes out to indoor row
From an outside perspective it is easy to question why anyone would put themselves through an indoor rowing competition. But the 2018 French Indoor Rowing Championships that took place in Paris last weekend continues to grow.
The motivations to compete in a 2000m indoor rowing race are wide and varied. For some it is to break through into the highest level of French rowing and help validate the drive these athletes have even during the winter months. For others it is the personal challenge, the desire to try something new, the possible bragging rights after completion. The list is long.
The championships attracted 1480 participants spread across a variety of categories including para-rowers, junior and masters rowers. Rowers from the Marignane Club, who have learning disabilities, added to the positive atmosphere.
A new World Record was set in the 50-54 year old lightweight women’s category by Armelle Hosquet who recorded a time of 7:21.7. This knocked nearly one second off a 13-year-old record set by American Joan van Blom. There were also 11 French national records broken.
Five of the eleven occurred in the female masters categories, five were in the men masters categories and one of the records was in the men’s open category.
The competition overall was extremely tough, especially in the open categories for both male and female. Matthieu Androdias won the open men’s category in a time of 5:45.2 which set a new French record. Androdias is a two-time Olympian. Olympic Champion from the lightweight men’s double, Pierre Houin won the lightweight men’s event in a time of 6:08.1 Olympic rower, Noémie Kober recorded a time of 6:39.1 to take first in the open women’s event. And Laura Tarantola battled it out to claim first in the lightweight women’s open race recording 7:05.4.
In the para-rowing categories new faces emerged. French national para-swimmer, Elodie Lorandi, who won four Paralympic medals during the London 2012 Olympic Games as well as one at the Rio 2016 Olympics, came third in the women’s PR3 category. This race was won by Audrey Belkhir in a time of 7:45.5.
At the championships there was also a joint event taking place, the Avirose Challenge. The challenge comprised of 32 teams one included women’s open winner,Kober. The purpose of the challenge was to raise awareness and funds to allow women treated for breast cancer to practice indoor rowing with a physiotherapist and to continue the practice with a rowing club.