The competition was intense and exciting for participants and fans as para-rowers competed for the first time internationally over the new 2000m distance. The regatta attracted crews – including several veterans of the Rio Paralympic Games – from 14 nations including Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, Israel, Italy, Hungary, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Uganda and Ukraine.

The Gavirate Regatta maintains a unique three day format which effectively sees the same para-rowing boat classes contested twice. Friday heats were seeded directly to Saturday finals followed by redrawn heats leading to Sunday finals. This gave the opportunity for excellent racing with many athletes taking the chance to compete in multiple events.

“It is the first event of the year where all the coaches can test their athletes and make their own team selection,” said Paola Grizzetti of World Rowing's para-rowing commission. “We had almost 40 new athletes to classify this year. There are more events than the four Paralympic classes and for next year we may add a PR3 1x for men and women.”

"This year was also the test event for the 2000m distance,” noted Grizzetti. “By doubling the distance, the gap [widened] between the first group of crews and the last. But we also saw some very good races.”

Ukraine was characteristically strong, with crews taking away five golds and six silvers by the end of the weekend. Paralympic Champion sculler, Roman Polianskyi claimed gold both days in the PR1 para men’s single sculls (formerly ASM1x) with a significant margin of 27.04 and 26.06 seconds over Great Britain’s Andy Houghton in the Saturday and Sunday finals respectively.

The PR2 para men’s single (formerly TAM1x) proved a closer contest with the leading crews exchanging places on at the top of the podium from one day to the next. Laurence Whiteley, who won gold in the para mixed double sculls at the Rio Paralympics for Great Britain, won in Saturday’s final by finishing ahead of Ukraine’s Iaroslav Koiuda, who came fifth in Rio as part of the para mixed double. The next day, however, Koiuda took the win, with fellow Ukrainian Dmytro Ivanov claiming silver and Whiteley pushed into bronze.

Great Britian gained back-to-back wins in the PR3 para mixed coxed four (formerly LTAMix4+). Paralympic gold medalists Grace Clough and James Fox were joined by Emma Tod, Oliver Stanhope and coxswain Anna Corderoy to win Saturday’s and Sunday’s final in essentially the same race, but on Sunday Rob Sargent was swapped in for Stanhope.

2017 Gavirate para-rowing regatta, Moran Samuel, ISR, PR1W1x © FISA

Israel’s Moran Samuel won gold on both days in the PR1 para women’s single sculls. Samuel, who won bronze in Rio, confirmed her position even over the longer distance against Norway’s Brigit Skarstein, who had placed fourth at the Paralympics.

A reversal from Rio came in the PR2 para mixed double (formerly TAMix2x) where The Netherlands crew of veteran Paralympian Corne De Koning (fourth in this event in Rio) and newcomer Annika Van Der Meer bested the experienced French duo, Perle Bouge and Stephane Tardieu, who had claimed bronze in Rio 2016 and silver in London 2012.

Results summary

PR3 para mixed coxed four (PR3Mix4+)
Saturday:             GBR, UKR, FRA, ISR, AUT
Sunday:               GBR, UKR, ISR, AUT

PR2 para mixed double sculls (PR2Mix2x)
Saturday:             NED, FRA, POL, RUS, ITA, RUS
Sunday:               NED, FRA, POL, RUS, ITA, RUS

PR1 para men’s single sculls (PR1M1x)
Saturday:             UKR, GBR, GER, LTU, AUT, ITA
Saturday:             UKR, GBR, POL, GER, LTU, FRA

PR1 para women’s single sculls (PR1W1x)
Saturday:             ISR, NOR, GER, RUS, ITA, HUN, UGA
Sunday:               ISR, NOR, GER, RUS, ITA, HUN, UGA

PR2 para men’s single sculls (PR2M1x)
Saturday:             GBR, UKR, FRA, FRA, ITA
Sunday:               UKR, UKR, GBR, ITA, FRA, FRA, ITA

PR2 para women’s single sculls (PR2W1x)
Saturday:             UKR, UKR, HUN
Sunday:               UKR, UKR

PR3 para mixed double sculls (PR3Mix2x)
Saturday:             AUT, AUT, GER
Sunday:               FRA, ISR, GER

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