A New Zealand feast at Philadelphia Cup Challenge
The Philadelphia Cup Challenge boasted an impressive international line-up of men’s and women’s single scullers, with two New Zealanders claiming the top of the podium and the prize money.
Inclement weather conditions forced racing to be postponed, but it did not stop Robert Manson and Hannah Osborne of New Zealand from fending off their competitors over the sprint distance.
The Philadelphia Cup Challenge is hosted as a part of the Head of the Schuykill Regatta in front of the iconic “Boathouse Row” in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. The 750m, four-lane sprint event is invitation-only for the world’s top single scullers. The winner of each event takes home US$10,000, second place $5,000, third place $2,500 and fourth place $1,000.
Osborne surprised spectators when she beat an impressive line-up in the women’s single, including the reigning World Champion, Sanita Puspure of Ireland. Osborne was a late call-up for the competition, taking the place of injured Magdalena Lobnig of Austria. Osborne finished in the B-final of the World Rowing Championships in Plovdiv, but this challenge was her race. Carling Zeeman of Canada finished in second just 0.06 seconds behind and Puspure took third. Kara Kohler, who competed this year in the women’s single sculls for the United States, was fourth.
The men’s line up consisted of reigning World Champion, Kjetil Borch from Norway, World Best Time holder Manson, Olympic silver medallist Damir Martin from Croatia and World Cup medallist Oliver Zeidler of Germany. This race came down to the final stroke. Manson managed to get the better of it at the line, finishing just 0.04 seconds ahead of Martin and just 0.24 seconds ahead of Borch. Zeidler struggled in the windy conditions and finished seven seconds back.
This is the fifth edition of the race in its renewed format. The original “Gold Cup” began in 1920. It hosted the world’s best men’s single scullers and was won several times by U.S. rowing legend, John S. Kelly. The cup disappeared in 1960 and was missing for more than 50 years. In 2011, it re-emerged and a group of rowing enthusiasts reinstated the race – including both men’s and women’s singles sculls. A gold cup is given to each winner and their name is inscribed at the base of the historic Gold Cup.
Previous winners include Kim Brennan (AUS) and Mirka Knapkova (CZE) on the women’s side and Damir Martin, Kjetil Borch and Iztok Cop (SLO) on the men’s side.
For more information about the race, please visit their website here.