Fastest out at the start was Blake Haxton of the United States. Haxton finished fourth at the 2016 Paralympic Games and then took sixth at last year’s World Championships. But it was the Paralympic Champion, Roman Polianskyi of Ukraine who got to the first 500m mark in the lead. Polianskyi was beaten in 2017 by Erik Horrie of Australia who is the reigning World Champion. Horrie sat one lane over from Polianskyi and sat in second. Horrie set a new World Best Time earlier in this regatta and it was likely the race would be between these two accomplished athletes. Polianskyi got to the half way point under the World Best Time with Horrie keeping pace. Russian Paralympic medallist from 2012, Alexey Chuvashev followed in third.

Polianskyi then managed to get a slight edge over Horrie as these two boats moved clean away from the rest of the field. In the final sprint Polianskyi went to 39 with Horrie at 38. It was oh so close at the line. Horrie had done it and in a new World Best Time of 9:16.90. This was nearly nine seconds faster than the time Horrie set earlier in the week.


Erik Horrie, Australia, gold
“That was a race! Painful and very fast. Roman is a very good rower, we always knew it would be a sprint finish. I take my hat off to him.”

Roman Polianskyi, Ukraine, silver
“Very good race! I need to work on my technical skills as everyone in the field has improved. I will now do my best to win next year.”

Alexey Chuvashev, Russia, bronze
“We’ve seen a lot of records here in Plovdiv with this tail wind already. The conditions are really fast. I executed my race according to plan.”

Re-watch the race here


Poland’s Jaroslaw Kailing only just missed out on making the a-final in a very close semifinal race. Kailing has been racing internationally since 2015 and has solid experience in para-rowing. Kailing took the lead at the start with Fabrizio Caselli of Italy the closest challenger. Kailing continued to lead, but Caselli kept him honest by chasing him down the 2000m course. Meanwhile France and Lithuania had a ding-doing battle through the race for the third place spot. Kailing continued to be pushed to the line by Caselli and only just managed to hold on to first.