Para-rowing preview for World Rowing Championships
Para-rowers are gearing up to compete at the World Rowing Championships in Chungju, Korea. This is the 12th time that Para-rowing, formerly called adaptive rowing, has competed at the World Rowing Championships and a total of 40 crews are competing from 17 countries. This includes, for the first time, the LTA mixed coxed four (LTAMix4+).
Racing for Para-rowing will begin on Monday 26 August and what follows is a preview of the five events.
The AS Women’s Single Sculls (ASW1x) has been rather intriguing so far this season. The previously unbeaten Paralympic Champion, Alla Lysenko of Ukraine just could not reach the top of the podium at both the Samsung World Rowing Cup in Eton Dorney and the Gavirate Para-rowing Regatta. Instead it has been 2013 newcomer Natalia Bolshakova of Russia who has picked up two gold medals. A new Norwegian sculler, Birgit Skarstein is also making waves. Skarstein beat Lysenko once at Gavirate but finished third at Eton Dorney. No doubt about it, though, this event just became even more interesting.
Tom Aggar of Great Britain looks to be back on top in the AS Men’s Single Sculls (ASM1x). Four-time World Champion Aggar surprised the Para-rowing world by finishing fourth at the London Paralympic Games. But the man is back. At the Gavirate Para-Rowing Regatta earlier this season, Aggar was first and first again at the Samsung World Rowing Cup in Eton Dorney. In the absence of Paralympic Champion from China Cheng Huang, Aggar’s stiffest competition is likely to come from Alexey Chuvashev of Russia.
Chuvashev was third at the London Paralympics, but has finished second to Aggar this season. These two scullers are likely to be the frontrunners.
Perle Bouge and Stephane Tardieu of France come to Chungju unbeaten in 2013 in the TA Mixed Double Sculls (TAMix2x). In the absence of Paralympic Champions China, Bouge and Tardieu are the obvious favourites. Keep an eye out for challenges coming from Israel’s Olga Sokolov and Reuven Magnagey. Sokolov and Magnagey were ninth at the Paralympics but in Eton Dorney they stormed through to second.
Paralympic bronze medallists, Oksana Masters and Robert Jones of the United States will be racing in Chungju and if they can find a faster finishing sprint, they will be potent. Watch out too for Gavin Bellis and Kathryn Ross of Australia. The duo were fifth at the Paralympic Games and Chungju will be their first international race for the season.
The LTA Mixed Coxed Four (LTAMix4+) is becoming the domain of Great Britain. They are the Paralympic Champions and have retained two of the 2012 winning crew – Pamela Relph and Naomi Riches. The British crew won at both the Gavirate Para-rowing Regatta and at the Samsung World Rowing Cup in Eton Dorney. It is unlikely any other crew will be able to match the British pace leaving the real battle to go on for silver. This is likely to be between Italy and Ukraine.
New to the 2013 Para-rowing programme is the LTA Mixed Double Sculls (LTAMix2x). Five countries have entered – Germany, Italy, Korea, Ukraine and United States.