Preview Day One: London 2012 Olympic Rowing - The time has come
27/07/2012 - 17:44:00
The London 2012 Olympic Rowing Regatta opens with heats in nine events at Eton Dorney, the Olympic rowing venue, just west of London, Great Britain.
A total of 29 races will be staged on day one and it all begins at 09:30 (GMT) with the women’s pair launching the Olympic racing programme with two heats. This race will be an opportunity for the world to see Romania’s Georgeta Andrunache back from retirement. Five-time Olympic Champion and World Best Time holder, Andrunache is one of the most medalled rowers in the world and she has teamed up with Nicoleta Albu to go after medals in London.
The women’s quadruple sculls follow with reigning Olympic Champions China lining up in the first of two heats. China hasn’t scored highly in recent racing and they will be up against reigning World Champions Germany. Ukraine will be the crew to beat, as they have not lost a single race during the 2012 Samsung World Rowing Cup season.
Perhaps the most highlighted race of the day will be the second heat in the men’s eight. Drawn in the same race are the reigning World Champions, Germany, the reigning Olympic Champions and World Best Time holders Canada and the highly-rated Great Britain crew. With just one boat going directly to the final from this race it is likely to be a race of strategy rather than intensity.
The three heats in the men’s double sculls feature 13 countries that all have the ability to qualify for the A-final later in the regatta. Heat one includes the reigning Olympic Champions, David Crawshay and Scott Brennan of Australia, and the 2000 Olympic Champions, Luka Spik and Iztok Cop of Slovenia.
Racing then moves on to the lightweight men’s four. Heat Two is likely to be a clash between 2010 World Champions, Great Britain and 2011 World Champions, Australia. Great Britain and Australia finished one – two when they last raced each other in May at the final 2012 Samsung Rowing World Cup.
There are three heats in the men’s quadruple sculls. Current favourite in this event is Croatia. They come to London on the back of an unbeaten 2012 season and they will race in Heat Two against Australia, Poland and New Zealand.
Unbeaten since they partnered in the men’s pair in 2009, the New Zealanders Hamish Bond and Eric Murray will race in the first of three heats.
There will be a total of six heats in the men’s single sculls. The men’s single is the biggest event of this regatta with 33 nations taking part. A number of rowing development countries will race including Iran’s Mohsen Shadi Naghadeh, a World Champion at the under-23 level and Cameroon’s Paul Etia Ndoumbe who has been training with the French national team. The favourites in this boat class are spread amongst the heats with current World Champion Mahe Drysdale of New Zealand featured in heat four and 2010 World Champion Ondrej Synek of the Czech Republic in heat six.
Racing finishes with five heats in the women’s single sculls. Mirka Knapkova (CZE) is the reigning World Champion and she races in heat three. But the focus of this event may be on heat five which features Ekaterina Karsten of Belarus. Two-time Olympic gold medallist Karsten is a regular on the medals podium, but a recent rib fracture has meant that the five-time Olympian has raced infrequently this season.
Weather at Eton Dorney is expected to see a high of about 20 degrees Celsius with a slight chance of rain. A light breeze will be coming from a northerly direction leading to tail, with a slight cross, wind conditions for the rowers. Expect fast times and intense racing.