Heat, heart and spirit in junior championships finals
18/08/2012 - 13:55:00
The 2012 World Rowing Senior & Junior Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria lived up to all expectations for the first day of finals with the best junior (18 years and under) rowers in the world giving it their all.
In hot conditions that saw many athletes needing help at the finish, rowers raced to become Junior World Champions. Italy showed the way on the gold medal table with a win in the women’s pair, men’s four and men's quadruple sculls.
Junior Women’s Four (JW4-) – Final
The best start by a long way was New Zealand. The New Zealanders had come through to this final having finished third in their semifinal yesterday. Both China and Germany had beaten New Zealand in the semifinal and they were now sitting second and fifth respectively. Last year New Zealand had finished third while the United States were the defending Junior Champions.
By the half-way point the United States had pushed through into second with China now getting the better of New Zealand and moving into first. China had recorded the fasted qualifying time in yesterday’s semifinals and at 32 strokes per minute they continued to open up their lead. The United States tried to hold on with New Zealand now back in third.
China’s crew of Xiaoqin Wang, Yuanyuan Gu, Shuang Qu and Xiaotong Cui remained out in front and with a larger margin coming through to the finishing sprint. The United States held on to second and New Zealand were having the race of their live to hold on to third. At the line this provincial crew from China had become the junior World Champions. The United States had become silver medallists and New Zealand gained the bronze.
Results: CHN, USA, NZL, ITA, AUS, GER
Cui Xiaotong (CHN) – Gold
“We’re so happy to have won, there’s such a vibrant atmosphere here. We’re all still in school, but when I get home I’m going to train hard and try to get to another World Championships and eventually the Olympics!”
Ruth Narode (USA) – Silver
“I’m very happy with the result and the silver medal, but we had hoped for gold. We’ve been rowing together since the middle of June. The conditions here are great and helped us.”
Sophie Shingleton (NZL) – Bronze
“This is the first time any of us have been to a Junior World Championships. We really enjoyed the conditions and we’re really happy with the result.”
Great Britain stormed out of the start with Ukraine following suit. The British were silver medallists in 2011 but had to be content to race the B-final this year and they gave it their best despite the very close field. Through the middle of the race just three seconds separated the entire field and no-one was giving up.
Great Britain then managed to get a small break with Canada and Poland going neck-and-neck behind them. Coming into the final sprint only France were off the pace with five crews giving it their all through to the line. Great Britain looked be tiring as Poland, at a 36 stroke rate was really pushing it. The British, helped by the support of the crowd, kept in first to finish seventh overall at these Junior Championships.
Results: GBR, POL, UKR, CAN, BLR, FRA
Junior Men’s Coxed Four (JM4+) – Final
In the heats on Wednesday New Zealand had recorded the fastest time when they won their heat. Could they do it today and better their 2011 silver medal? At the start New Zealand shot out to take the lead with Germany, Italy and Ukraine forming a virtual line behind the New Zealand crew of Thomas Murray, Michael Brake, Cameron Webster, Thomas Jenkins and coxswain Sam Bosworth.
At the half-way point the New Zealanders had moved clean away from their competition with a 35 stroke rate pace. Serbia and Germany were now fighting it out for second with Italy just a little back. In the final sprint New Zealand remained out in front rating 34 with Germany having a huge battle with Serbia. The pace looked to be too much for Italy as they dropped back.
At the line New Zealand had become the Junior World Champions, Germany had earned the silver and Serbia were the bronze medallists.
Results: NZL, GER, SRB, UKR, ITA, FRA
Cameron Webster (NZL) – Gold
“It feels amazing to win the gold medal. We have been working together as a team since ten weeks and we get along really well.”
Max Backmann (GER) – Silver
“We expected to win this medal. It has been a great honour to be able to row here. The work over the last years has paid off. The organization here has been great and I now look forward to jump into the pool.”
Aleska Stankovic (SRB) – Bronze
“This is my first year (at the World ROwing Junior Championships) and it was a good race, but we expected more. We wanted to win gold, but the competition was very tough. New Zealand were just better. I hope we can prepare better for next year’s World Champs and we hope to win the gold medal then.”
A very fast start by Belarus gave them a solid lead at the start and by the half-way point, Belarus had a full two and a half second lead over the United States in second. Belarus – Tserashkou, Beliakou, Sharlap, Viatovich and coxswain Suzko – although underrating the United States by a couple of points, managed to keep their boat ahead of the United States while Croatia and Australia battled it out for third.
Coming into the final sprint Belarus looked solid and smooth now gaining an open water lead. Meanwhile Croatia had come storming through to challenge the United States for second. Croatia were successful and at a 35 stroke rate they got the better of the USA. At the back of the field, last year’s Junior Champions, Australia had to be content with finishing eleventh overall.
Results: BLR, CRO, USA, RUS, AUS
Junior Women’s Pair (JW2-) – Final
On Wednesday Italy and Greece had won their respective heats with the Italian reigning World Champions, Serena and Giorgia Lo Bue recording the fastest time. Could the Italians do it again this year?
After getting a yellow card for a traffic violation, Italy got off the line cleanly. Spain were not so clean with stern rower Laura Monteso Esmel catching a crab but then recovering very quickly to take the lead. What a start! Spain continued to rate high but a lower rating Italy was moving up on them. By the first 500m marker Spain’s Monteso and Nuria Barrios still had the lead as they settled into a 35 stroke rate pace with United States the closest challengers. The United States regularly do well in this event but last year was not their year when they finished sixth. Today Christine Cavallo and Kathryn Brown of the US, who had qualified for the A-final through the repechages, then pushed into the lead with Italy moving up all of the time.
As these boats moved through the third 500, Spain began to drop back with the United States remaining in control at the front of the field. Where was last year’s bronze medallists, Greece and what could Italy do?
The sprint for the line saw everything change. Underrating the Americans, Italy had pushed into the lead with the Americans unable to keep their course, first moving into Italy’s lane and then into Greece’s. As the Lo Bue sisters crossed the line in first Cavallo and Brown had held on to second with Styliani Koumpli and Aikaterini Kalamara of Greece taking third. The Lo Bue sisters had defended their title and now they moved to prepare for their country’s junior eights race.
Results: ITA, USA, GRE, GER, ESP, RUS
Giorgia Lo Bue (ITA) – Gold
“With a 1000m to go I still believed we could do it. In the last 300m I said to my sister we’re in second, let’s give it a go. In the last 100m I started to realised that we’d win. This is so different from last year, last year it was all new. We started from zero at the beginning of the season but we believed in ourselves all the way through, right to the finish line today. Winning today is even better than last year. As our coach says to win once is lucky, but to win twice and you really are getting good.”
Kathryn Brown (USA) – Silver
“I felt very excited about this race, this was our best performance so far so I’m delighted with the result. This is my first year on the national team and I’ve just been so excited every race.”
Aikaterini Kalamara (GRE) – Bronze
“I felt very excited and happy about the race. So far I have only seen a little bit of Bulgaria and I’m looking forward to exploring it a bit more before I leave.”
As a small breeze hit the Plovdiv regatta course the B-Final of the women’s pair got under way. Poland had a great start and it must have given them the psychological advantage as they continued to lead through the middle of the race. Poland and Belarus had both just missed out on the A-final from their repechage finish but Belarus were back in third behind South Africa.
As we have seen in many of the previous races, the final sprint could see an upset in the status quo. Could Poland hold on? They did. Using a 36 stroke rate Poland’s Maja Cylwik and Olga Michalkiewicz remained in the lead with South Africa holding on to second.
Results: POL, RSA, BLR, BUL, HUN
Junior Men’s Four (JM4-) – Final
Coming through from yesterday’s semifinals Romania had recorded the fastest qualifying time with the reigning junior champions, Germany recording the second fastest time. These two crews faced each other today taking out the two centre lanes.
At the start Romania’s Pavel-Iulian Buiciac, Alexandru-Cosmin Macovei, Danut-Biorel Rusu and Cristian Ivascu jumped out into the lead with Slovenia following very closely. A big piece by Italy brought them into the lead at the half-way point with Romania still on the pace. A huge pack of coaches on bikes were watching this race as well as a very vocal contingent of Italian supporters.
Italy’s Stefano Oppo, Alberto Di Seyssel, Lorenzo Pietra Caprina and Paolo Di Giorlamo were having an absolutely fabulous race after coming to these finals from recording the slowest semifinal qualifying time. But then Romania decided to really move. There was nothing between Italy and Romania through the final 200m. Romania rated 41 with Italy fighting for their lived at a 40 stroke rate. No one could pick it and the crowd waited for the judges’ call. Italy had won by 1/100th of a second. Romania finished with silver and Germany picked up the bronze medal.
Results: ITA, ROU, GER, GBR, SLO, AUT
Lorenzo Pietra Caprina (ITA) – Gold
“We did not expect this. We started very quickly and just wanted to see where we ended up. We put everything into the finish. The last 250m we were seeing stars, but we made it!”
Danut-Viorel Rusu (ROU) – Silver
“I am completely exhausted. I enjoyed the race but it was so tough. We’ve been in this crew for two months. I really liked the conditions here, they are perfect, the water is very good and I enjoyed my stay in Plovdiv because I’m here with my friends and my crewmates.”
Johannes Weissenfeld (GER) – Bronze
“We’re been rowing together for four weeks. We’re hoping to go to the Under 23 World Championships next year. We won’t have any vacation time this year as when we go back home we have to go back to school.”
France got out just ahead at the start, but there was very little in it in this very close battle. The margins remained close through the middle of the race with Australia getting the better of France. But the French held on and a piece at the 1200m mark brought France back into the lead. As the last 500m came into view only two seconds separated the top five boats with just Bulgaria a bit off the pace. But then the margins closed up again. France did a push at a 37 stroke rate and looked comfortably in first as a virtual line formed behind them. Five boats were fighting it out for second.
At the line France had won. The crowd waited for the remaining results. Less than a second separated the remaining five boats. To the local crowd’s delight Bulgaria was announced as the second place getters. What a close finish!
Results: FRA, BUL, DEN, AUS, CRO, USA
Junior Women’s Quadruple Sculls (JW4x) – Final
Coming through from yesterday’s semifinals there was less than three seconds separating the top five crews with Romania and New Zealand holding a slight edge. Romania finished third in 2011 and they had beaten New Zealand in the heats three days ago. Today was a new day. Romania had a very fast start and crossed the 250m mark in first with the reigning junior champions, Germany back in fourth.
Coming through the first timing marker, the 500m mark, Romania’s Andreea-Mihaela Tataru, Maricela-Dorina Otea, Viviana-Iuliana Bejinariu and Ioana Vrinceanu had taken their boat into the lead with United States following in second and New Zealand back in third. New Zealand then did a piece that helped them close the gap on the United States with Romania storming away in first.
The United States (Rosemary Grinalds, Elizabeth Sharis, Alexandra Zadravec and Cicely Madden) then did a piece and managed to move away from the New Zealanders. This two-boat tussle saw the United States and New Zealand close the gap on Romania, but the Romanian’s looked solid and powerful in the lead.
At the line Romania had moved from bronze in 2011 to gold in 2012, the United States had gone from fourth in 2011 to second in 2012 and New Zealand had not only made the final but picked up the bronze medal.
Results: ROU, USA, NZL, GER, BLR, ITA
Andreea-Mihaela Tataru (ROU) – Gold
“This was a difficult race and the conditions were tough, but we have enjoyed our stay here. This is the best result I have ever had.”
Alexandra Zadravec (USA) – Silver
“We came here thinking it was going to be a very tough race, so we’re really pleased with the result. This is the first time the USA has got a medal in the junior women’s quad so we’re so happy we can make US rowing history.”
Ruby Tew (NZL) – Bronze
“I’m really satisfied with this result, we had no idea we could win this. I had no expectations coming into this race. We’ve been rowing together for 12 weeks. I really liked the rowing conditions here, the water was great, just perfect and the heat didn’t present an obstacle for us. I’d like to get onto the senior team in the future.”
Greece did their usual high rating start with the aim of holding on for the rest of the race. But it was Great Britain and China who had recorded the next fastest times in yesterday’s semifinals and there was an expectation on these two crews. Great Britain got to the first 500m mark first but there was very little in it with the field very tightly bunched. Then Great Britain did a very impressive push and broke clean away from the field. This left China to play catch-up with the rest of the field still tightly bunched.
In the final sprint all of the crews looked tired, suffering in the Plovdiv heat. Great Britain had held on to first with China taking second and Greece, rating 38, came through in third.
Results: GBR, CHN, GRE, AUS, CZE, IRL
Junior Men’s Quadruple Sculls (JM4x) – Final
A breakage in the New Zealand boat before the start saw this race being postponed until 18:40 (EEST). The late time was due to the decision to race once the main heat of the day had cooled down.
Taking off at the end of the day, Italy had the best chance of doing well as they came through from yesterday’s semifinals with the fastest time. Today it was the winner of the other semifinal, Romania who took off in the lead. Romania are the reigning junior champions and they wanted to make their mark early.
Romania kept their stroke rate high at 37 strokes per minute through the body of the race. Ukraine, in second, were chasing Romania hard with Italy back in third. At 1250m these three crews were dead level with Romania continuing to overrate their competition. Then Italy began to move. Taking their stroke rate from 33 to 34 Italy had gained the lead and now it was up to Romania and Ukraine to catch them.
Remaining at 34 strokes per minute Italy increased their lead as Ukraine overtook Romania. To large Italian cheers, Italy remained in front and at the line Italy had won. Ukraine took silver and Romania were the bronze medallists.
Results: ITA, UKR, ROM, HUN, NED, NZL
Davide Mumolo (ITA) – Gold
“It was a difficult race because we were behind Ukraine for the first 1000m. But we had good race tactics and we were able to pass them in the last 500. We kind of knew that we could do it, but then you never know. For three of us this was the last Junior year, but we hope to be back at Under 23s.“
Vladyslav Gavrylyuk (UKR) – Silver
“I feel very good about winning the silver medal. We have worked very hard for two months. And I’m also very happy because this is a great medal for Ukraine. I think we can win the gold medal next year, we’ll train hard for it!”
Florin-Aurelian Buznean (ROU) – Bronze
“It’s hard to describe the race, but we are pleased with our result. Italy has dominated the Junior Championships so far, so it was hard to beat them. This is the first time I have ever been to a World Championships. We have been (rowing) together for three months.”
Germany shot out at the start to make the best of this B-Final. Last year the Germans finished with bronze and there was a level of expectation on them. Russia, who are known to start fast and then fade, followed in second. The Germans then did a big push going through the third 500 with Latvia and Croatia now getting the better of Russia.
In the final sprint Germany was on 36 and still in the lead. Latvia was holding on to second and Croatia came storming through to take third.
Results: GER, LAT, CRO, RUS, RSA, GBR