Gold for Greece, Denmark and Italy at 2012 World Championships
19/08/2012 - 11:09:00
This was the day of the lightweight rower at the 2012 World Rowing Senior & Junior Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.
Racing in the senior lightweight men’s and women’s single sculls and the lightweight men’s pair saw Alexandria Tsiavou of Greece do her nation proud with a gold in the women’s lightweight single.
Denmark’s Henrik Stephanson successfully defended his World Champion title in the men’s lightweight single and Italy’s Luca De Maria and Armando Dell’Aquila showed that they had the ability to rate high for a full 2000m to win the lightweight men’s pair.
Lightweight Women’s Single Sculls (LW1x) – Final
What a line up! Already the reigning World Champion, Brazil had been pushed out to race in the B-final. The remaining six in the A-final all had great credentials. This was one of the best line-ups in recent years. After just a few strokes Alexandra Tsiavou of Greece had the lead. Tsiavou comes to these World Champs having won bronze in the lightweight double sculls at the London Olympic Games. Rating 34 she held her lead. The rest of the field was nearly level.
Two days ago in the semifinals Tsiavou and Ursula Grobler of the United States had the fastest qualifying times, but at the half-way point today Grobler was back in fifth with Austria’s Michaela Taupe-Traer in second.
Tsiavou comes to Plovdiv hoping to make her country proud and she was doing an amazing job here today with a huge clear water lead through the middle of the race. The rest of the field would have to race for silver. Tsiavou is a two-time World Champion in the lightweight women’s double and she has also won the lightweight single at the under-23 level.
Meanwhile Taupe-Traer was having a big battle with 2012 Under-23 Champion in the single, Alena Kryvsheyenka of Belarus. With Kryvsheyenka getting into silver medal spot coming into the final sprint. Taupe-Traer pushed back using a 36 stroke rate. It paid off for Taupe-Traer and earned her silver. Kryvsheyenka held on to bronze. But the big winner was Tsiavou who finished well ahead of the field and less than four seconds outside of the World Best Time.
Results: GRE, AUT, BLR, USA, DEN, NZL
Alexandra Tsiavou (GRE) – Gold
“I woke up this morning and wanted the gold. I hadn’t felt that until today. During the race I went out to get into first position, then I was very focussed and ready for any tactics that my opponents that could throw at me. Becoming World Champion today has really made me feel like all my efforts have paid off.”
Michaela Taupe-Traer (AUT) – Silver
“I feel great. I knew that Alex would be very, very strong. This is my first my first medal at a World Championship. I saw that I was second, but you never know what can happen and I’m very happy with this result.”
Alena Kryvasheyenka (BLR) – Bronze
“There was a big difference between this race and the one at U23’s, which I was able to win. But the competition here was much harder and I didn’t really know what to expect. The hardest part of this race was the end, because I really pushed myself. But I’m really happy and I look forward to the next Olympics.”
To have a reigning World Champion lining up in the B-Final shows the depth of talent here in Plovdiv. Fabiana Beltrame of Brazil won this event last year then went to the London Olympic Games and raced in the lightweight double. In the semifinal two days ago Beltrame finished fourth and thus missed out on the A-final. Five boats took off together with only Switzerland off the pace.
By the half-way point Italy’s Elisabetta Sancassani had got into the lead but the margins between the top five was still very tight. Sancassani’s career has been as a heavyweight rower and she was having the race of her life today in the lightweight single. In a ferocious sprint to the line Sancassani took her stroke rate to 34 and Beltrame charged also at 34, with Miao Wang of China moving at a 32 stroke rate. Sancassani got there first to become seventh in the world this year.
Results: ITA, CHN, BRA, AUS, IRL, SUI
Lightweight Men’s Single Sculls (LM1x) – Final
Hungary’s Peter Galambos had a great start in this very talented A-final. But the margins were oh so close and all six remained in the running. The ratings remained 33 – 34 coming into the middle of the race as all crews fought it out. Then Henrik Stephansen of Denmark took his stroke rate to 35 and pushed past the most recent leader, Andrew Campbell of the United States.
Stephansen is the reigning World Champion but usually he leaves it to the final sprint to come through. Today Stephansen, the World Record holder for lightweights on the indoor rowing machine, decided to make his move early.
As the final sprint came into view Stephansen remained in first with the young Campbell still in second but under threat from Italy’s Pietro Ruta (rating 40) and Galambos. At the line Stephansen had defended his title. Galambos had won his first senior medal with a silver and Campbell had redeemed his missing out on qualifying to compete at the London Olympics with a bronze medal.
Results: DEN, HUN, USA, ITA, AUT, SUI
Henrik Stephansen (DEN) – Gold
“I had a race plan, but Hungary and USA were so strong that I got distracted for a while, but eventually I managed to turn the focus back on myself. I was really nervous beforehand that I wouldn’t be able to get into a good rhythm. I’m so delighted with the gold.”
Peter Galambos (HUN) – Silver
“The race was really hard, but the start and the finish were where I performed best. My goal here was to win a medal, so I’m satisfied.”
Andrew Campbell Jr (USA) – Bronze
“It’s really good to make the podium and I’m very proud of what I did. I think there are many people out there who think Americans can’t scull, but I showed I can. Over the last 1000m I knew I’d be in there in the medals and I’m please I was able to increase the intensity. This has been a great regatta and I’ve kept improving throughout the week.”
France’s Guillaume Raineau had a great start with Lukas Babac of Slovakia following closely behind. Babac tried to qualify for the London Olympics earlier this year in the heavyweight men’s double. He missed out and thus moved to this non-Olympic event. Coming through the 1200m mark Raineau did a piece regained the lead that Babac had taken. Raineau just missed out on racing the A-final when he finished fourth in the semifinal two days ago.
Raineau kept the pressure on with Bartlomiej Lesniak of Poland now pushing through. These two countries sprinted for the finish line. Raineau took his rating to 39 with Lesniak at 37. Raineau got there first to be seventh in the world for 2012.
Results: FRA, POL, BUL, SVK, MEX, SLO
Lightweight Men’s Pair (LM2-) – Final
In Friday’s semifinal Denmark’s Christian Pedersen and Jens Vilhelmsen had the fastest qualifying time. But they were up against former World Champions, Jean-Christophe Bette and Fabien Tilliet of France and last year’s silver medallists, Luca De Maria and Armando Dell’Aquila of Italy. At the start De Maria and Dell-Aquila got into the lead and rating 41 through to the 700m mark they still had the lead. Could they maintain it?
At the half-way point the margins between the entire field remained slight, with Italy still in the lead. Bette and Tilliet had pulled into second with a virtual line forming between Denmark, the Netherlands and Austria. De Maria and Dell-Aquila continued to keep their stroke rate high and they still had the lead coming through the 1500m mark.
Then the Netherlands (Arnoud Greidanus and Joris Pijs) pushed past France to take the silver medal spot. The crowd volume rose as a tight finishing sprint played out. Italy still had sprinting ability left in them and at 45 they were holding off the Netherlands, now at 44. It was tight. Had Italy got there in first? Yes! Gold for Italy by a very small margin, silver for the Netherlands and bronze for France.
Results: ITA, NED, FRA, DEN, SRB, AUT
Armando Dell’Aquilla (ITA) – Gold
“We got out ahead, stayed ahead and finished ahead. I’ve been dreaming of a race like this since 2007. It was of such a high standard, just indescribable. I was feeling so bad in that last 500m, and I started to doubt we could win, but Luca never stopped believing and kept me going.”
Joris Pijs (NED) – Silver
“We are very excited, but a bit disappointed too that we missed the gold. We didn’t not have a good start, but in the end we still hoped for the gold but could not keep the pace. This was not our race plan, but a medal is good! I will go on a holiday with family and friends next.”
Jean-Christophe Bette (FRA) – Bronze
“I feel a bit disappointed and it was a real challenge. We wanted to win. It all felt really good over the first 1000m but afterwards I felt a bit sick. The hardest part was the end because we were not in the best condition. “
The Czech Republic’s Juri Kopac and Miroslav Vrastil had the lead at the start and held it through the middle of the race. Kopac and Vrastil had scored a very good time in the semifinals but it was not good enough for them to qualify for the A-final. Rating 35 the Czechs were building up a handy lead through the middle of the race. Then Canada’s John Sasi and Eric Woefl put the pressure on taking their rating to 39 through the third 500, closing the gap that the Czech’s had built up.
Kopac and Vrastil had a race on their hands to the line as Canada continued to challenge. The Czech’s were able to hold them off and cross the line in first. Canada followed in second and the United States came through in third.
Results: CZE, CAN, USA, NZL, UKR, MEX