The Belgian crew of Tim Brys and Niels van Zandweghe had the fastest time in the heats two days ago and today they met for the first time Poland’s Jerzy Kowalski and Artur Mikolajczewski who won the other heat. At the start it was Austria that led the way. Austria came to this final through yesterday’s repechage so have had an extra race over the Poles and Belgium. The Austrian crew of Matthias Taborsky and Julian Schoeberl got to the first 500m point in the lead. But then Belgium picked up the pace and they managed to grab first place going through the middle of the race. Brys and van Zandweghe won bronze at last year’s World Rowing Championships and they are definitely a crew to watch this season. Poland had now pushed into second with China 1 coming thorough.

In the final sprint there was just three seconds separating the top four boats. The best sprint would decide the medals. Belgium went to 38 and then higher as Portugal overtook China and went after a medal. What a great race.

Results: BEL, POL, POR, AUT, CHN1, ESP

Niels van Zandweghe (s), Belgium, Gold
“We’re really happy with this result, it confirms how we did earlier in the season against the Italians. It’s good to be back here, especially after last year’s medal. We execute our race plan perfectly. We wanted to make a difference in the middle thousand and that’s what we did. China went off a little harder than in the heats, but we didn’t panic and we were able to hold them off. Up next is Europeans for us and then the other world cups.”

Artur Mikolajczewski (b), Poland, Silver
“That was a hard race, the wind has picked up a lot. This was our first event together and we found a good event today and we’re very happy with second place.”

Afonso Costa (s), Portugal, Bronze
“It was a tough race today as the wind got very heavy but we worked together towards the end. We’re happy to have got a medal.”

​Re-watch the race here!


From the repechage it was China 2 that scored the fastest time of these boats and they led the way at the start. But it was China 3 that had the advantage at the 500m mark. The two Chinese crews then went stroke-for-stroke before Tao Zeng and Sensen Chen got the advantage and led the boats home. Chen returns after racing here last year at the World Rowing Championships.

Results: CHN2, CHN3, JPN2, JPN1