International boat classes face off for medals in Poznan
The racing continued Saturday afternoon in slightly calmer conditions with the sun shining through the clouds. Athletes in the international boat classes raced for the podium.
Women’s Four (W4-) - Final
Four crews lined up in the A-final of the women’s four, meaning only one would miss out on the podium. Two Belarus crews raced each other down the course, with the second Belarussian boat keeping the advantage up until the half-way mark. Germany finished in fourth place at last year’s World Rowing Championships, and after reaching the half-way mark here in Poznan, the Germans made a push to overtake Belarus2. The German margin over Belarus was only slight, just half a boat length’s lead, but they maintained it until the line, claiming gold over Belarus2 in silver and Belarus1 in bronze.
Results: GER, BLR2, BLR3, ITA
Lea-Kathleen Kuehne (s), Germany, gold
“It is our first race ever. Like everyone we were pretty surprised because of the weather the exhibition race was canceled. We were put in the four since we did not qualify the eight in Lucerne. We will go to the World Championships in Rotterdam, so this was good practice. Overall, we think it went quite well.”
Yana Tsupa, Belarus 2, silver
“We used to row in an eight together, but sometimes we row in two fours. Last time the other crew won and this time it was us.”
Darya Marchanka (s), Belarus 1, bronze
“Two weeks ago we raced the other crew at our national championships in Belarus and we finish the other way around. We are both in preparation for the World Championships in Rotterdam later this summer.”
Men’s Coxed Pair (M2+) - Final
Two boats lined up in the A-final of the men’s coxed pair, Turkey in lane one and Great Britain in lane two. Both crews would medal, but which one would claim gold? Turkey’s very fast start placed them in the lead early on, but Great Britain narrowed that lead by the 500m mark with Turkey only just ahead. The British are the reigning World Champions in this boat class, although they claimed world gold at last year’s championships with a different line-up. With the British drawing close, Turkey did not relent, pushing hard to increase their lead, but the British pushed back and by the 1500m mark the two boats were once again nearly level. In the final quarter, the British raced for the line, leaving the Turkish in their wake and resisting an ultimate challenge by the Turks. At the line, Great Britain claimed gold with Turkey crossing in silver.
Results: GBR, TUR
Oliver Cook (b), Great Britain, gold
“It was a very tight race. The Turks were giving us a real race for it. I locked eyes with the Turkish bow man and that’s when we knew we needed to go. We made our move in the 3rd 500 metres.”
Onat Kazakli (b), Turkey, silver
“It was a tough race. I think we did well, but we could do better. We will work on this. Congratulations to Great Britain, they were the better crew. We have been in the men’s coxed pair only for two weeks. We will continue and hope to go to Rotterdam in this boat.”
Lightweight Women’s Single Sculls (LW1x) - Final
New Zealand’s reigning World Champion in the lightweight women’s single sculls Zoe McBride was in the lead at the 500m mark, with the Netherlands’ Marieke Keijser in close pursuit. Keijser won gold at World Rowing Cup I this year in the lightweight single, and is the 2015 junior World Champion in the single.
By the half-way mark World Best Time holder McBride had increased her lead, with Keijser still holding on to second while Denmark and Sweden were nearly level in third. McBride was setting an incredible rhythm for the rest of the field, causing her competitors to spread out increasingly behind her as the race unfolded. The 19-year-old Dutch sculler Keijser continued pushing hard, refusing to let go of her Kiwi competitor, and with 200m to go she managed to close the gap with New Zealand, attempting to stay in contention for the gold.
At the line, McBride had held on, while Keijser crossed the line in silver. Both lightweight scullers finished convincingly ahead of the rest of the field, with Sweden’s Emma Fredh claiming bronze.
Results: NZL, NED2, SWE1, DEN, GER, NED1
Zoe Mcbride, New Zealand, gold
“Marieke surprised me a little in the end, but I felt really strong and in control to hold her off. I felt much better than in Lucerne. I am really looking forward to racing these girls in Rotterdam.”
Marieke Keijser, Netherlands, silver
“I tried… For a second I thought I could break her, but she (McBride) is so strong. It has been amazing for me to race here with these strong girls.”
Emma Fredh, Sweden, bronze
“I think it is a good result because I have only been in the single for a few weeks, I was in the double in Lucerne. During the race, I tried not to think too much and just row because I am not yet 100% comfortable with my technique in the single. I hope to go to the World Championships, but I don’t know for sure yet because we have to do a selection.”
Positions swapped throughout the B-final in the lightweight women’s single sculls, with the field staying tight and level throughout.
The Netherlands’ Amber Van Zomeren reached the 500m mark first, with the Swiss sculler Ladina Meier in the lead at the half-way mark. Austria's Pless had grabbed the lead by 1500m and she was able to maintain her advantage until the line, followed by Italy’s Giulia Pollini and then Switzerland’s Meier.
Results: AUT, ITA, SUI1, NED3, SWE2, BRA
Lightweight Men’s Single Sculls (LM1x) - Final
Pietro Ruta of Italy pushed out of the starting blocks hard, distancing himself from his closest rivals early on in the A-final of the lightweight men’s single sculls. Ruta had qualified the lightweight men’s double sculls for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, but is now no longer part of the Olympic boat.
At the half-way mark, Ruta’s closest rival Jerzy Kowalski from Poland was four seconds behind. The Italian was rowing with intensity. With 500m left to row Ruta still had an advantage of two and a half boat lengths ahead of Poland. In the final sprint, Croatia’s Luka Radonic started to close in, moving up on Poland and edging closer to Italy. At the line, Ruta took gold, Croatia had moved up into silver and Poland had fallen back into bronze.
Results: ITA, CRO, POL, GER, SLO1, NOR
Pietro Ruta, Italy, gold
“There were so many factors that I needed to control, like wind, every error could have been fatal. But when I saw that I was in front, I tried to increase the distance as much as possible. At 500m, I decided to make the final sprint, which would decide the race.”
Luka Radonic, Croatia, silver
“I wasn’t expecting a medal at all. After Lucerne I had some very hard weeks at university, so I thought I would be less on form. I am going to the European University Games and to the World Championships in Rotterdam.”
Jerzy Kowalski, Poland, bronze
“My plan was to start fast and hold my position, but the Croatian was very strong and moved ahead of me. In the end, even Konstantin from Germany was trying to take my position, but I could hold him off. After one year in the single, this is a good result for me.”
Switzerland's Silvan Zehnder took the lead early and held on firmly as the B-final in the lightweight men’s single sculls progressed. Austria’s Mattias Johansson followed in a steady second position. In the second half of the race, Brazil’s Uncas Batista moved up the ranks to cross the line in third.
Results: SUI, AUT1, BRA, AUT2, SWE, IRQ
Lightweight Men’s Quadruple Sculls (LM4x) - Final
World Rowing Cup III here in Poznan saw the lightweight men’s quadruple sculls racing for the first time at a World Rowing event this year. Four boats lined up in the last race of the day, meaning that only one crew would miss out on the podium.
Denmark, in lane one, are last year’s world bronze medallists and are the crew with the most experience in this field. They started out in front. The field was quite close at the 500m mark, with the Netherlands in second position. At the back of the field, Sweden and Norway overlapped each other for half the race, with Norway breaking away from the Swedes in the second half to move into third position.
Sticking to their race pace, the Danes continued steadily throughout, increasing their lead over their competition.
At the line, it was Denmark in gold, the Netherlands in silver and Norway in bronze.
Results: DEN, NED, NOR, SWE
Joel Cassells (b), Great Britain, gold
“I think it was our toughest race yet. We were challenged left and right, but we kept our heads in it for the whole race. There is still more to come, we’re up to the challenge as always.”
Emil Espensen (b), Denmark, silver
“Our start wasn’t so good, but we kept on going according to our race plan. Today we managed to maintain our pace much better throughout the race than in the heat. We were very pleased with that.”
Alexis Guerinot (s), France, bronze
“I was disappointed because we came in second in Lucerne and we wanted to do better here. Because of the windy conditions, it was hard to have good technique and keep the boat stable. We called a big finish over the last 200m to keep the bronze. All in all, we came here to beat the British, so it’s a medal, but not the one we wanted.”