For immediate release
Aiguebelette, 3 September 2015

The medal rush at the 2015 World Rowing Championships in Aiguebelette, France began today with the four para-rowing boat classes.

Australia had a great start to these championships with two gold medals.  Erik Horrie took gold in the para men's single sculls (ASM1x) to become a three-time World Champion. Horrie stayed ahead of 2008 Paralympic Champion, Tom Aggar of Great Britain with Igor Bondar of Ukraine in third.

Australia's second gold came in the para mixed double sculls (TAMix2x). Gavin Bellis and Kathryn Ross successfully defended their World Championship title in the double holding off Great Britain and France. Bellis commented on the tight finish, “It’s amazing to have such a close race, it is great for the sport.”

Israel's Moran Samuel improved on her 2014 silver medal by becoming a World Champion for the first time in the para women's single sculls (ASW1x). Samuel finished ahead of Great Britain's Rachel Morris and the 2014 World Champion Birgit Skarstein of Norway.

Overall Great Britain finished second on the para-rowing medals table winning medals in all four boat classes. Their best result came in the para mixed coxed four (LTAMix4+) when they defended their World Championship title by outsprinting the United States. Canada finished with bronze in this boat class.

Today's racing also included semi-finals for six Olympic boat classes. These crews not only earn places in the A-finals but also secured Rio 2016 Olympic qualification spots. The men's and women's pairs have been dominated by New Zealand's Eric Murray and Hamish Bond, and Great Britain's Helen Glover and Heather Stanning respectively in recent years. Both are the reigning Olympic Champions and both have now qualified for the Rio Olympics. They will go to Saturday's finals as favourites.

The lightweight men’s double sculls of France is looking in good form to lead the way. Jeremie Azou and Stany Delayre finished ahead of the reigning World Champions South Africa in their semi-final. For the lightweight women's double sculls Canada's Lindsay Jennerich and Patricia Obee won their semi-final and recorded a time slightly faster than the winner of the other semi-final, current World Champions Sophie MacKenzie and Julia Edward of New Zealand. They will meet in Saturday's final.

Italy and the Netherlands are looking in winning form in the men's four after winning their respective semi-finals today. Neither crew has dominated through this season, and they will both be pushed hard by Great Britain and Australia. The men's quadruple sculls saw a turn of events when the World Champions Ukraine missed out on making the A-final. Instead an outstanding performance by Lithuania brought a new boat through to the final when they won their semi-final . They will meet Germany, the winner of the second semi-final, in Saturday's final.

Friday's finals begin at 11:50 CET and continue through to 13:35 CET with the International boat classes. All of the finals will be live streamed on www.worldrowing.com.

For results, schedules, full race reports, photos and live blogging go to www.worldrowing.com.