IOC President attends rowing finals
Finals day at the Youth Olympic Games rowing regatta in Nanjing, China had International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach joining the spectators to watch the 1000m racing.
Bach commented, “It is a magnificent venue within the green city of Nanjing and sport just in the middle of it, it’s really exciting.”
The finals began with the women’s single sculls and they set the scene for today’s racing. Treating it like a sprint right from the beginning, Athina Maria Angelopoulou of Greece was fastest off the line. She was chased by Krystsina Staraselets of Belarus. Staraselets came into this race saying that she was going to win. The question remained, did she have the power to do it? Angelopoulou held onto the lead through the 750m mark, but it was the young Belarussian who had the better sprint to the line. She finished just 0.2 seconds ahead of Greece with France just off the pace to take the bronze medal.
Tim Ole Naske of Germany came into the final of the men’s single sculls with the fastest qualifying time, but it was just by a fraction of a second. The scullers in this race knew it was going to be close. Naske crossed the 500m mark in the lead over Great Britain’s Chris Lawrie. Mateusz Swietek of Poland was in third. Meanwhile, Boris Yotov of Azerbaijan had had a sluggish start, and was in fifth place at the 500m mark. Then Yotov, who is a medallist at the senior level, increased his stroke rate and started to move through the field. But Canada’s Daniel de Groot wasn’t about to let him get away. Together Yotov and de Grrot worked their way to the front of the pack to challenge Naske. It was, however, too late. Naske held on to his gold medal position, with Yotov and de Groot finishing silver and bronze respectively. All three finished within one second of each other.
The extremely close racing continued when five of the six crews in the women’s pair stormed to the finish line with little more than a bow ball between them. Canada, Romania, Chile, China and the United States were in a line with only 250 metres to go. Romania picked up her stroke rate for the final push to the line and Canada followed suit. The home crowds cheered for the Chinese pair, who moved back on the Canadian challenge. At the line it was too close to call. The finish line judges declared Romania the gold medal winner. China had taken silver and Canada bronze. Just 0.4 of a second separating the three crews.
Romania and the Czech Republic had both earned direct spots in the men's pair final from the heats. So with one less race under their belts, they looked to be the favourites going into today’s race. The Czech Republic had the fastest start and they pushed ahead of Romania by the 500m mark. But the Romanians were not about to let them get away. Taking up the stroke rate, Romania pushed back to take the lead. The Czech Republic was not able to respond, they were also fending off challenges from Turkey and Slovenia who were pushing hard to get on the podium. Across the line, Romania had taken a solid lead. The Czech Republic held on for silver and Turkey took the bronze with just a bow ball over Slovenia.