Olympic test at 2011 World Rowing Junior Championships
The 2011 World Rowing Junior Championships head to Eton, Great Britain next week and not only will the best juniors in the world be crowned as World Champions at the end of racing, but also the event will act as a test event for the 2012 London Olympic Games.
A total of 48 countries are entered to take part at Eton with a total of 578 athletes competing on the Olympic regatta course from 3 - 7 August, 2011. The best subscribed events are the men's singles sculls and the men's double sculls, each having entries from 25 nations. Similarly for the women, the single sculls and the double sculls have the most entries.
The United States and Germany are both fielding full teams with entries in all of the 13 events. Host nation, Great Britain is entered in eight events. Most of these athletes will be racing at the international level for the first time and the majority of rowers are 18 years old.
Some of the competitors are returning for up to the fourth time. Lucy Grinalds of the United States is at her fourth junior worlds. Last year she took silver in the women's four and she is back in the same boat this year. Natalia Sanchez Rojas of Chile has raced at the last two junior worlds in the single and will do so again at Eton.
Daphne Socha of France will be one of the only rowers returning to defend a World Champion title. Socha was first in the women's double sculls last year and is competing in this same event at Eton, but with new partner, Elodie Ravera-Scarmozzino.
In the men's eight, Italy has retained the same coxswain as last year when they struck bronze. Enrico D'Aniello of Italy will be competing at his fourth junior worlds and his crew will be going up against last year's World Champions, the United States.
In 2010 Germany finished at the top of the medals table and if their record at the junior level is anything to go by they will be aiming for the top again this year.
For the second year finals will be spread over the last two days of the regatta and the large number of entries means that racing will commence on the afternoon of Wednesday 3 August.
The regatta venue, and home of the 2012 Olympic Rowing Regatta, is at Great Britain's prestigious Eton College. Former Eton College student and four-time Olympic Champion Matthew Pinsent is the President of the organising committee. The eight-laned man-made course hosted the 2006 World Rowing Championships and over the last couple of years minor changes have been made to bring it to an Olympic standard. Everything is now in place.
To compete in the World Rowing Junior Championships, rowers must be 18 years of age or under. An athlete can compete as a junior until 31 December of the year in which s/he reaches the age of 18. After that date s/he shall be classified an Under 23 rower.
The World Rowing Junior Championships is partly subsidised by the rowers who take part in the World Rowing Masters Regatta which donates 1 Euro of every Masters Regatta entry fee to support youth rowing.
Live scoring, audio streaming, race reports, results and a photo gallery will be available throughout the regatta on www.worldrowing.com.
A full list of entries and an updated provisional timetable can be found here.