Germany reigns supreme in men’s eight
The German men’s eight proved that they had what it took to remain on top when they won their final at the 2011 World Rowing Championships in Bled, Slovenia. In choppy, tail-cross wind conditions Germany continued their winning streak, relegating the British to be bridesmaids for a second year running.
Germany also had the upper hand in the women’s quadruple sculls when they finished off a very good season with a World Champion title. New Zealand came through on the very last stroke to defend their title in the women’s pair. The race was so close that it took Juliette Haigh and Rebecca Scown several minutes to realise they had won.
Lightweight Men’s Pair (LM2-) – Final
When Peter Chambers and Kieren Emery of Great Britain finished second in Munich World Rowing Cup earlier this season it was clear that this duo had something special. Then they won the under-23 championship title and confirmed their speed. Today Chamber and Emery rowed a negative split race to secure the senior World Champion title. Last year Great Britain finished outside of the medals in this event which was won by France.
Meanwhile Italy, New Zealand and Germany carried out a very tight battle to try and secure the remaining medals. All three boats sprinted behind Great Britain to the finish. Italy’s Luca De Maria and Armando Dell’Aquila did it the best with Germany’s Bastian Seibt and Lars Wichert coming through in third. Chambers and Emery round off a perfect season which included Chambers filling in his country’s lightweight four at the final World Rowing Cup and helping the crew win gold. The finishing time for the British was just one second shy of a new World Best Time.
Results: GBR, ITA, GER, NZL, AUS, NED
Peter Chambers (GBR) – Gold
“New Zealand took off quickly. We stayed in the middle of the field for the first kilometre and then moved strongly. Tough, but pretty awesome racing."
Luca De Maria (ITA) – Silver
“The whole race we fought with Australia and we gave all the power at the end. We did not know we were second. A great result for us.”
Bastian Seibt (GER) - Bronze
“This was a great race. We knew our strength would be in the middle of the race. Coming up to the finish we only knew we were somewhere in the medal ranks, but didn’t have any clue where. This is great and it was great challenge for me to row the LM2- for the first time at the World Championship.”
Yesterday in the semifinals China and Canada recorded the next fastest qualifying times making them the favourites coming into this event. Canada’s Timothy Myers and Morgan Jarvis must have had the better pre-race psyche up as they took a flyer out of the start, grabbed the lead and never looked back. Both Bulgaria and China tried to challenge Canada but ended up challenging each other as Myers and Jarvis controlled the race.
Results: CAN, BUL, CHN, SUI, HKG
Women’s Pair (W2-) – Final
This race was touted as a two-way slug-fest between New Zealand and Great Britain. New Zealand’s Juliette Haigh and Rebecca Scown are the reigning World Champions but they were beaten earlier this season by world number twos, Helen Glover and Heather Stanning of Great Britain. As predicted the slug-fest began right out from the start as the wind picked up to become a tail-cross wind with chop. Glover and Stanning had a slight edge, but Haigh and Scown stuck closely to them after starting off rather crooked which forced them to row down the buoy line. Both boats moved clear away from the rest of the field.
Margins between Great Britain and New Zealand remained nerve-rackingly close as last year’s fourth-placed Australians slipped into third. The line was approaching and Great Britain had a very small lead. New Zealand went to 39, Great Britain responded. The crowd gasped. There was nothing in it. The rowers didn’t know the results. New Zealand had won on the final stroke. The margin: 8/100th of a second over Great Britain. Haigh had won her third World Championship title. Glover and Stanning looked stunned.
Results: NZL, GBR, AUS, CHN, ROU, RSA
Juliette Haigh (NZL) – Gold
“We just were giving all the power we had and we didn’t know that we had won. We thought it was Great Britain. It is only when we looked at the big screen that we saw we had won the race. It’s a great feeling and a second title in a row after Karapiro.”
Helen Glover (GBR) – Silver
“Silver at a World Rowing Championships is still ok. We have improved our sprint compared to Lucerne, but it was not enough for now. But next year is obviously what matters.”
Kate Hornsey (AUS) – Bronze
“This is awesome and almost like winning gold. Yesterday was the big one with qualifying for the final and the Olympics, so we had nothing to lose today. It’s very exciting, especially as we have only rowed together for a week. This was just the start – I can’t wait for the W4- next!”
There was no denying the importance of this b-final. The top two boats would qualify for next year’s Olympic Games and the heat was on. Three crews are regulars in this event at the Olympic Games – Germany, Canada and the United States – and they were all racing in the b-final. The pressure was on. Germany’s Kerstin Hartmann and Marlene Sinnig got off to a flying start. This crew has not had the most ideal lead up. Sinnig has had health issues and has only just come back into the boat. The United States and Canada along with Italy, chased hard.
Coming into the third 500 four boats were practically on top of each other with Italy’s Claudia Wurzel and Sara Bertolasi now pushing into a slight lead. Italy has never qualified for the Olympics in this event and Wurzel and Bertolasi looked unstoppable. Coached by Josy Verdonkschot, the Italians continued to lead as the United States and Canada now held their own battle to get the final qualifying spot. Caryn Davies (2008 Olympic Champion) and partner Katherine Glessner of the United States had done it. Canada misses out by an agonisingly close 6/100th of a second.
Results: ITA, USA, CAN, GER, BLR, FRA
Women’s Quadruple Sculls (W4x) – Final
This event opened with heats last Sunday when New Zealand and Germany recorded the two fastest times. Germany has had long spells in the past of dominating this event, but in recent years Great Britain has done very well. With Great Britain relegated to the b-final and Ukraine not firing this year, there looked to be openings on the medals podium.
Germany did not hide what they were after right from the start. The Germans shot off the starting line and sent out a message to the rest of the field; catch us if you can. The United States did the best job and even got a decent overlap coming through the third 500. But Germany remained in control. A solid sprint by the Germans held off the United States and New Zealand in third.
On the medals podium Julie Richter, Tina Manker, Stephanie Schiller and Britta Oppelt of Germany did not hide their emotions. Tears streamed down their faces as they listened to the German national anthem.
Results: GER, USA, NZL, AUS, CHN, UKR
Britta Oppelt (GER) – Gold
“This is fantastic. I can’t really believe it yet. This was a beautiful race. It’s been an awesome quad and we had a lot of fun together.”
Stephanie Schiller (GER) – Gold
“This is a dream come true. The Americans really pushed hard on the last 500, but Tina called a push, which worked really well. But we still only knew when we crossed the finish line that we had really won.”
Natalie Dell (USA) – Silver
“We had a very aggressive first half, and that worked out. At one point we were losing each other, but Stesha [Carle] immediately knew what to do and made the right call. In the end we were just rowing and rowing. I couldn’t believe it when Stesha said Silver!”
Sarah Gray (NZL) – Bronze
“It was a tough race with a lot of competition. We were expecting more but we are happy with the third place. We are focusing on next year now. The gold at the Olympics is our goal.”
World Champions Great Britain went fast in the heats and the repechage, but for both races they were in the fastest one and plain bad luck kept them out of the final. Today Great Britain made the best of the B-final. So did Poland. The Poles led out of the start and held on as long as they could. The stronger British side held it together and slowly wore Poland down. Only the winner would qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games and Great Britain desperately wanted that spot. By the end Great Britain had done what they came to do.
Results: GBR, POL, ITA, ROU, VIE
Men’s Eight (M8+) – Final
Coming into this event Germany had a huge target on their back. Germany comes to the 2011 World Rowing Championships as unbeaten since 2009 and two-time World Champions. The Germans must have known that. But did it faze them? At the start Germany jumped out quickly and didn’t look back. Australia made a gallant effort and stuck closely to Germany through the first half of the race. Then Great Britain, who have shown in previous races that they may not be the fastest starters but they have an awesome finish, began to move up.
Great Britain overtook last year’s bronze medallists, Australia and tried to close on the Germans. There is, however, a new crew on the block. Canada is the reigning Olympic Champions but they have been rebuilding after a big post-Beijing crew retirement. Included in the rebuilding has been the return to the team of 2008 coxswain Brian Price and strongman Malcolm Howard. This ‘new’ crew had a really good sprint and from fourth position they were moving through the field.
The Germans, still, remained in the lead and at a 41 stroke rate they were revelling in these rocky tail wind conditions. Great Britain’s stamina earned them silver and Canada got through to bronze, denying Australia of a medal.
Results: GER, GBR, CAN, AUS, POL, NED
Florian Menningen (GER) – Gold
“It was a very intense race, but we really coped well with the circumstances. We really wanted to defend our title, but with a new crew you never know. We have a strong overall group, also in the other heavy men boats, so we are on schedule for London.”
Andreas Kufner (GER) – Gold
“Honestly, I didn’t see much in the race. We completely relied on our cox Martin. We all wanted this and we did it. This is totally awesome.”
Greg Searle (GBR) – Silver
“We raced pretty well for the work we have done. Germany have class and this will just motivate us for next year.”
Phelan Hill (GBR) – Silver
“The race was really tough with a lot of strong teams like Germany, Australia, Canada. The battle was until the end, but we could take the second place on the last meters of the race. The gap with Germany is still there but we are closer. For next year we will be working hard.”
Andrew Byrnes (CAN) – Bronze
“We knew in advance that this is a race with a high standard and a tough field and that we would still be together at the finish line with five or six crews. It was “take an inch-give an inch” all the time. But we coped well with the hard conditions with gusts from the side, and as we have a young team, we will be aiming to beat the German crew next year.”
Brian Price (CAN) - Bronze
“This was a real big fight between Germany, Australia and Canada. With tail wind at the beginning and for the last 300m a cross wind. I asked the guys to give all they had and to push very hard. We were not able to resist Great Britain. Our third place is a good result and the gap with Germany is smaller than before. The team is young and they need more and more experience. After the world cups we made some changes and this had a positive result on the team.”
Another incredibly important B-final lined up. Just one Olympic qualifying spot was available in this race. All six crews knew that they must finish first if they wanted to be the boat. These crews had raced in the semifinals yesterday and 2004 Olympic Champions, the United States had earned the next fastest qualifying time. France got off to a flying start with all boats following closely. By the half way point Ukraine had pushed into the lead.
Ukraine did not qualify for the 2008 Olympics and last year, with same coxswain, Oleksandr Konovaliuk, they finished 10th. Today, Ukraine was giving it their all. Coming into the final sprint Ukraine still had the lead with the United States realising that they’d better do something – and fast. Yesterday US coach Tim McLaren, after the semifinal, talked to his team, just them, for 30 minutes in the team tent. When they came out there were no smiling faces. The eight is incredibly important for the US.
At the line Ukraine had won. The United States had missed out on Olympic qualification. Waiting on the dock Ukraine women’s quadruple sculls rower, Tetiana Kolesnikova was ecstatic. Her husband had just qualified for the 2012 Olympic Games.
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