Italy and Romania beat the heat at the under-23 champs
High temperatures for the first day of finals at the 2013 World Rowing Under 23 Championships in Linz-Ottensheim, Austria forced a one-hour delay in racing. Temperatures reached 35 degrees celcius at 3 pm today. Starting at the later and cooler time of 5pm, Italy and Romania showed their under-23 prowess by taking three gold medals each out of the eight finals raced.
Italy's first gold medal was in the men's coxed four when they held off a big finishing sprint by New Zealand to stay in first. Then the lightweight men's pair of Francesco Schisano and Vincenzo Serpico successfully defended their 2012 World Champion status by outracing Great Britain to the line. Perhaps the best effort for Italy came in the lightweight men's quadruple sculls. This event has always been popular for Italy and they own the under-23 World Best Time as well as the senior World Best Time. Today Italy not only won but they finished just six seconds outside of the World Best Time.
Mihaela Petrila and Madalina Beres of Romania pushed through a very talented field to finish first in the women's pair. This race was one of the tightest of the day with three boats behind Romania fighting for the two remaining medal spots. Germany and Italy were successful.
Romania's second gold came in the women's quadruple sculls. Romania had to battle with Poland for the full 2,000m to earn the gold with Poland finishing back in silver by just 0.35 of a second.
The third Romanian gold was in the last race of the day, the men's four. This gold did not come easily as Australia kept the pressure on but then succumbed to Romania's superior closing sprint. Australia took silver and the United States earned their sole medal of the day by finishing in third.
In the women's four Australia had gold medal success when they dominated their final from start to finish leaving Russia and New Zealand to take silver and bronze.
Germany finished the day with five medals, one of them gold. The gold was won by the rowers of the lightweight women's quadruple sculls who successfully defended their 2012 title.
The semi-final races earlier today decided the line-ups of the remaining 13 finals which start tomorrow at 10 am. If the conditions are right a fast time is expected in the women's single sculls as Germany's Lisa Schmidla has been recording some very quick times. Schmidla will face London Olympic Champion from the women's quad, Nataliya Dovgodko of Ukraine and last year's bronze medallist from Canada Carling Zeeman. Germany is looking good to make it a double-header with Hubert Trzybinski the favourite going into the men's single sculls. Trzybinski's main competition is likely to come from Romania's Petru Codau and Rolandas Mascinskas of Lithuania.
A South African - Australian showdown is surfacing in the men's pair. Both boats won their respective heats and semi-finals with the fastest times and they will meet for the first time in the final.
Both the lightweight men's and women's single sculls events started with a high number of entries. Narrowed down to six for each final, defending under-23 champion Alena Kryvasheyenka of Belarus is the clear favourite in the women's race. But Kryvasheyenka will see stiff competition coming from former heavyweight rower Aikaterini Nikolaidou of Greece. These two scullers are likely to leave the rest of the field behind. Amongst the men, Andrew Campbell of the United States and Franciscus Goutier of the Netherlands are looking to be the strong medal contenders with Ireland potentially waiting in the wings.
Finals will commence at 10:05hrs (CET) going through until 12:41hrs on Sunday, 28 July 2013.