Huge international turnout at Henley Royal Regatta
27/06/2012 - 17:23:00
Under overcast skies, the iconic annual Henley Royal Regatta begins today in Great Britain. At the 163rd edition of the regatta, there is a record number of 133 international entries to watch out for, as well as some British talent. As always, a large number of spectators are expected, in what is not only a high-class rowing regatta, but also a staple social occasion for the nation.
Several international athletes who just missed out on Olympic qualification will try their luck in the head-to-head 2112m match between the wooden booms on the well-known course in Henley-on-Thames.
Duncan Grant of New Zealand and USA’s Andrew Campbell are both racing in the elite men’s single sculls, The Diamond Sculls. Grant is a three-time World Champion in the lightweight men’s single sculls. Perhaps the favourite on home water is Graeme Thomas, who recently raced for Great Britain at the 2012 Samsung World Rowing Cup III in Munich, Germany, finishing fourth in the A-final of the men’s single sculls.
In the elite women’s single sculls, the Princess Royal Challenge Cup, Ireland’s only Olympic qualifier in rowing, Sanita Puspure, will face the likes of lightweight Australian sculler Alice McNamara, Estonia’s Kaisa Pajasula and Laura Schiavone of Italy.
World silver medallist from 2011, Daniel Ritchie will race with fellow British rower Tom Broadway in the elite men’s pair, the Silver Goblets and Nickalls’ Challenge Cup. Ritchie is recovering from an injury this year which took him out of the running for a spot in the British men’s eight. This pair will face stiff competition from James Koven and Michael Blomquist of United States of America, who just missed out on selection in the men’s pair event for the Olympic Games.
The under-23 crews from Australia, Canada, Germany and New Zealand will contest several elite events, before heading to Trakai, Lithuania for the World Rowing Under 23 Championships.
The Grand Challenge Cup for the elite men’s eight will be contested solely by international crews, including under-23 crews from Australia and Germany. Lightweight crews from the Netherlands and Italy will also race, as will top American rowers from California Rowing Club and some of the best athletes from Brown University.
Germany’s international women’s eight will race the likes of a development crew from Canada, young talent from The Netherlands, top rowers from Harvard University, USA, and home-grown talent from Leander Club and Sport Imperial Boat Club in the Remenham Challenge Cup, the elite women’s eight event.
Domestic and international university, club and junior crews will also race for Henley Royal Regatta honours.
Always a popular event in the British social calendar, crowds will flock to Henley-on-Thames over the next five days. The event has proudly held on to traditional rowing customs which has added to the uniqueness of the event. Those watching from certain areas at the venue are expected to follow strict dress codes, whilst crowds on the banks further up towards the start of the course can enjoy a more casual, lively atmosphere.
A total of 499 crews will race down the booms. Last year a total of 60 seconds was taken off course records including the oldest record on the books, Steve Redgrave’s 29-year-old record to one point on the course, the barrier, in the Double Sculls Challenge Cup. In all, 33 records fell and 24 were equalled.
Also of interest, in accordance with the 2012 Paralympic Great Britain Rowing Team announcement, the British Paralympic team will do a “row-past” at 12.50 BST on 27 June. A gathering of 170 British rowing Olympians will also be present on Sunday 1 July.
Click here fot the draw and timetable for 2012 Henley Royal Regatta.