For immediate release
Aiguebelette, 5 September 2015

Six countries won World Championship titles and 13 countries took medals in the first of two days of Olympic-class finals at the 2015 World Rowing Championships in Aiguebelette, France.

Two gold medals went to New Zealand with both the men's pair Eric Murray and Hamish Bond who made it 21 on their run of winning international regattas including this being the sixth World Championship title in the pair. Second and third went to Great Britain and Serbia respectively. New Zealand’s Julia Edward and Sophie MacKenzie earned their second senior World Championship title in the lightweight women’s double ahead of Great Britain and South Africa.

The home team - France's Jeremie Azou and Stany Delayre - gave the local French crowd what they had hoped to see by winning the lightweight men's double sculls. Azou and Delayre raced together at the London Olympics and they have been building up to today's win - the first World Championship title in an Olympic boat class for France since 2010. The silver and bronze went to Great Britain and Norway respectively. “We tried to save as much energy as possible in the first half and then give everything in the second half. It’s only intense joy to finally be World Champion," said Delayre after the race.

One of the biggest upsets of the day was when the United States women's quadruple sculls surprised the reigning World Champions Germany for the gold. The United States’ win was the first World Championship title in this boat class for the US. Germany was second with the Netherlands in third. The men's quadruple sculls went to Germany with Australia and Estonia taking the silver and bronze medals.

Helen Glover and Heather Stanning of Great Britain continued to dominate the women's pair with New Zealand and the United States finishing second and third respectively. Italy won a surprise gold in the men's four. The crew of Marco Di Costanzo, Matteo Castaldo, Matteo Lodo and Giuseppe Vicino held off Australia and Great Britain to win Italy's first gold of this regatta.

Today's B-finals had the added importance of being races for Rio Olympic qualification spots. The full Olympic qualification list will be released after racing finishes on Sunday.

The final day of racing, Sunday 6 September has A-finals beginning at 13:15 CET continuing through to 14:45 CET in the Olympic boat classes. These finals will be preceded by the B-finals starting at 12:00 CET, many of which have the added importance of being part of Rio 2016 Olympic qualification.  All of the finals will be live streamed on www.worldrowing.com.

For results, schedules, full race reports, photos and live blogging go to www.worldrowing.com.