Para PR1 Men’s Single Sculls (PR1 M1x) – Heats

This is the biggest of the para-rowing boat classes with 19 countries being represented. They were divided into four heats with the top two in each heat to qualify for the semifinals. At the start of Heat One it was Lithuania’s Augustas Navickas in the lead. Then the Paralympic Champion, Roman Polianskyi of Ukraine moved into the lead. Polianskyi holds the World Best Time and he set it earlier this season at World Rowing Cup II. Polianskyi then began to pull away from the field with Navickas being challenged by Fabrizio of Italy.  Polianskyi had no reason to sprint and he cruised home at a rather comfortable 29 strokes per minute. Caselli followed in second with Navickas in no position to threaten.

Heat Two was delayed as the seat in Paraguay’s boat needed fixing. Rescheduled for an hour later it was Brazil’s Rene Pereira who took off at a very fast pace. Pereira raced in the final of the 2016 Rio Paralympics and earlier this season he placed fourth at the World Rowing Cup. Then Andrew Houghton of Great Britain took over in the lead. Once in the lead Houghton managed to get a small advantage over Pereira. Then with 250m to go Houghton came to a stop. Pereira was able to close on the Brit. Houghton recovered and kept an edge to win the race. He qualifies for the semifinals along with Pereira.

Heat Three had Russia’s Alexey Chuvashev leading the way over Blake Haxton of the United States. Chuvashev has a bronze medal from last year’s World Rowing Championships and he also medalled back at the 2012 Paralympic Games. Haxton was sixth at the 2017 World Rowing Championships. The margins between these two crews remained reasonably consistent coming into the middle of the race with Chuvashev maintaining the edge over Haxton. Nigeria’s Kingsley Okoroafor was a bit back in third.

Chuvashev was then able to push away from Haxton coming through the middle of the race and the second 1000 turned into a procession with Haxton firmly in second and Okoroafor in a solid third. Chuvashev kept his stroke rate at 34 and the pressure on through to the end.

It was no surprise to see the reigning World Champion, Erik Horrie of Australia leading the way in Heat Four. Poland’s Jaroslaw Kailing followed in second but was quite a distance back. Instead Kailing was having to keep a wary eye on Julie Hardi of France. Kailing then managed to shake off Hardi with Horrie continued to push away and he went through the half way point at under World Best Time. At the line Horrie had set a new World Best Time of 9:25.11. This was eight seconds faster than the former time set earlier this season by Polianskyi.

Qualifiers: UKR, ITA, RUS, USA, AUS, POL, GBR, BRA