The Youth Olympic Games (YOG) consists of four boat classes; men’s and women’s single sculls and men’s and women’s pairs. Each of the single sculls events has 24 boats, with the pairs comprised of 12 boats each. Unlike international rowing competitions, these races are held over a shorter distance of 1000m.

First up were the heats of the women’s single sculls. Four heats with six boats each meant that the top boat qualified directly for the semifinals, while the rest had to contest the repechage tomorrow. Krystsina Staraselets was off the blocks first and led the way home to take the qualifying spot from Heat One. She also record the fastest time from all four heats of 3:44.97. Heat Two saw a quick start from Zimbabwean sculler Daniella du Toit, but coming through the 750m mark, Alejandra Alonso of Paraguay pushed through to the lead to cross the line first. The third heat was a clear win for the sculler from Norway, Thea Helseth. She got into the lead before the 1000m mark and managed to hold off all of her competitors who crossed the finish line in a procession after her. The final heat in the women’s single saw one of Lithuania’s up-and-coming scullers, Sonata Petrikaite take the one direct qualifying spot to the semifinal.

The men’s single sculls saw many of the top competitors from last week’s World Rowing Junior Championships in Hamburg, Germany. World Rowing Junior Champion, Tim Ole Naske (GER), finished first in Heat Four to qualify directly for the semifinal. He will be joined by silver-medallist Daniele de Groot from Canada, who qualified out of Heat Three. However, the fastest qualifying time was recorded by Orlando Sotolongo of Cuba in Heat One, who finished in a time of 3:25.11. These three will be joined by the very experienced Boris Yotov of Azerbaijan who won Heat Two in a time of 3:25.47. Yotov  won a silver medal in the men’s double sculls at the senior level World Rowing Cup in Aiguebelette, France earlier this year.

With 12 boats in each the men’s and women’s pairs categories, a decision was made to change the normal progression system so that the athletes would have one race each day. Today the athletes competed in seeding races, their places determining the heats in which they will compete tomorrow. It also gave them an opportunity to test their speed early in the event.

Racing on Monday 18 August gets underway at 10:00 in Nanjing, China. Results are available in direct on the Nanjing 2014 website: http://www.nanjing2014.org/en/en_sports/GamestimeResults.htm

Or can be accessed on the World Rowing website after racing is completed: http://www.worldrowing.com/events/youth-olympic-games-regatta/