This was shaping up to be a race between reigning World Champion Birgit Skarstein of Norway and former World Champion Moran Samuel of Israel. Samuel took silver last year and she must have been hoping to move up to gold today. At the start it was Skarstein who moved the quickest and she placed her mark on the race with just 500m rowed. With a seven second lead and just a quarter of the race gone, Samuel would have to do something very special to catch the Norwegian. Meanwhile Hallie Smith of the United States was having a great race and sat in third.

Skarstein, who competed at this year’s winter Olympics, continued to push away and she was absolutely dominating. Skarstein went through the middle of the race faster than the World Best Time. The real race would have to go on for the lesser medals. Skarstein rated 36 at the end and looked delighted. She had set a new World Best Time. At 10:13.63, Skarstein had shattered the previous time by 11 seconds.


Birgit Skarstein, Norway, gold
“That was an amazing race! I went hard from the start and managed to keep building the speed until the end. There were some good pushes and the race went really well.”

Moran Samuel, Israel, silver
“I’m so happy to be racing here and with this result, especially as I gave birth four months ago, so I didn’t know how I would perform physically or mentally.”

Hallie Smith, United States of America, bronze
“Amazing to medal here! Silvia pushed me the whole way through so I’m so happy with this result. This year I trained so much harder with my two coaches than last year. I was happy with the tail wind today rather than any annoying head winds.”

Re-watch the race here


Both Ebba Einarsson of Sweden and Tomomi Ichikawa of Japan are in their first year of international para-rowing competition and at their first World Championships. With every race at this regatta they would have been on a very steep learning curve. Ichikawa led the way over Einarsson. Einarsson was an able-bodied rower and now as a para-rower she is the first ever Swedish para-rower. Einarsson worked hard to close the gap on Ichikawa’s lead and they moved down the course at very similar speeds. Both scullers went hard for the line with Ichikawa finishing first.

Results: JPN, SWE