Last hope at Final Olympic Qualification Regatta
The first round of repechages gave rowers at the 2016 FISA European Continental and Final Olympic Qualification Regatta the last chance to keep their Rio Olympic hopes alive. Raced in Lucerne, Switzerland, rowers had almost perfect flat water conditions under sunny skies and an insurmountable level of racing tension.
Women's Single Sculls (W1x) - Repechage
Four boats contested this repechage with the top three able to move on to the semifinals. So this race was all about not coming last. Spain's Virginia Diaz Rivas made no bones about her intentions and took off very quickly. Diaz raced in both the single and pair at last year's World Rowing Championships, but has focused on the single this year. Norway's Marianne Madsen challenged Diaz hard leaving Italy and Serbia to battle it out for the final qualifying spot. Serbia started out at the back of the field but then managed to push ahead of Italy. Serbia's Iva Obradovic then ran out of steam as Valentina Rodini of Italy found another gear. Obradovic, a 2008 Olympian, will not be going to the Rio Olympics.
Qualifiers: ESP, NOR, ITA
Men's Single Sculls (M1x) - Repechages
There were two repechages and the top three boats in each repechage would get to continue on to the semifinals. It would be the end of Olympic hopes for all other boats. In Repechage One Australia's Rhys Grant got away the quickest and held his spot through the middle of the race. Meanwhile Philipp Syring of Germany was pushing hard to close on Grant. In the final sprint Russia's Andrey Potapkin produced a flying finish that propelled him into the lead. Syring came through to take second and collapsed exhausted, but happy in his boat at the end. Grant held on to third.
Repechage Two was the slower of the two repechages and opened with Kristian Vasilev of Bulgaria in the lead. Vasilev held that lead for the first half of the race before Switzerland's Markus Kessler was brought home in the lead to the sound of cow bells ringing. Dani Fridman of Israel managed to push past Vasilev to qualify from second.
Qualifiers: RUS, GER, AUS, SUI, ISR, BUL
Lightweight Men's Double Sculls (LM2x) - Repechage
There were four countries aiming for three qualifying spots and Cyprus decided to give it their all at the start. Then the more experienced boat of Jan Vetesnik and Martin Slavik of the Czech Republic pushed into the lead with Slovenia chasing hard. Coming through to the final sprint Vetesnik and Slavik still had the lead with tight margins now between Slovenia, Cyprus and Bulgaria. A better sprint by Bulgaria gave them the final qualifying spot and denied Cyprus of getting their first rowing boat to the Olympic Games.
Qualifiers: CZE, SLO, BUL
Men's Pair (M2-) - Repechage
The five boats contesting this race were all aiming to be in a top three spot to get to go to the semifinals. The boats coming fourth and fifth would not get to advance towards Olympic qualification. Ukraine made the best of it at the start and shot out very quickly, holding their pace as they came into the middle of the race. Then as Ukraine began to run out of steam, Turkey was able to take over in the lead. In the final sprint the European Champions, Hungary's Adrian Juhasz and Bela Simon did an almighty sprint that took them through to first. Turkey held on to second and China got ahead of Ukraine to grab the remaining qualifying spot.
Qualifiers: HUN, TUR, CHN