Linz-Ottensheim readies for the world's best under 23 rowers
Next week the best rowers in the world under the age of 23 are gathering in Linz, Austria at the Ottensheim international regatta course for the 2013 World Rowing Under 23 Championships. Entries have been received from 52 nations and include 811 athletes.
Dominating the entries is the men's single with entries from 28 nations entered in the lightweight class and 27 entered in the open class. Spyridon Giannaros of Greece won the lightweight men's single event last year and heads this huge field. Two medallists from the 2012 under-23s are back this year in the open single. Hubert Trzybinski of Germany and Dionysios Angelopoulos of Greece finished second and third respectively but this field is stacked with talent including Rolandas Mascinskas of Lithuania. London Olympian Mascinskas has already raced twice this season at the senior level and in 2011 he finished third at the under-23s.
For the women the single has also proved to be very popular. Twenty nations have entered the open single and 18 countries will line up in the lightweight single. Alena Kryvasheyenka of Belarus is the undeniable favourite in the lightweight single. Kryvasheyenka won the event last year and since then has had success at the senior level with a World Championship bronze medal. The open single may see a Canadian at the top of the medals podium as 2012 bronze medallist Carling Zeeman is back again this year. Zeeman will have strong competition from Lisa Schmidla of Germany who has spent this season racing at the senior level which has earned her a World Cup gold in the women's quadruple sculls.
The men's eight has attracted entries from 12 nations including the defending champions from the United States. They will have stiff competition from Germany which comes to the under-23s with 69 athletes covering all of the 21 events; the largest team. The United States is next with 65 athletes. The US are also the defending champions in the women's eight, but with a bigger field entered this year they will face tough competition.
Italy's strength often lies in the lightweight men's events and they will line up in the lightweight men's four with two members that won in 2012. They are also looking strong in the lightweight men's pair with 2012 under-23 champions, Francesco Schisano and Vincenzo Serpico, back again this year.
The Ottensheim regatta course last hosted the 2008 World Rowing Championships for seniors and juniors. The regatta course was originally the Danube River until the construction of a hydro-electricity plant and a lock created the course. Although it recently experienced significant damage from flooding, all facilities will be ready to go for racing which begins on 24 July 2013 with the first round of heats. Finals will be raced on 27 and 28 July.
The World Rowing Under 23 Championships is raced in 21 boat classes and is open to athletes under the age of 23 from all FISA member national rowing federations. The under-23s began in 1976 as the 'Match des Seniors', later known as the 'Nations Cup'. It became the World Rowing Under 23 Championships in 2005. For 2012 the event was held in Trakai, Lithuania with Germany topping the medals table ahead of Italy and the United States.