Olympic Champion Mads Rasmussen, who won gold in the lightweight men's double sculls at the London 2012 Olympic Games, was invited to Otsu and he made the trip worthwhile by winning the 2000m ergometer race in a time of 6:17.6. But the battle for first was tight with Satoshi Sakaguchi of Hokkaido University coming in second at 6:18.6.

Mads' 2012 Olympic partner, Rasmus Quist recently announced his comeback to rowing with the two scullers setting their intentions on defending their title at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

On the women's side Japan's Nao Ochiai finished first completing the race in 7:13.3 with Juliane Rasmussen in second. Third place went to Saiyidah Aisyah Mohamed Rafa'ee of Singapore.

The number of competitors for Japan's indoor rowing championships is expected to keep growing and it is planned for the event to be held at a larger arena next year

Both Juliane Rasmussen and Rafa'ee are accomplished scullers with Rasmussen finishing fourth in the lightweight women's double sculls at the London Olympics while Rafa'ee recently won the lightweight women's single sculls at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.

During their time in Japan, the Rasmussen's took part in an international rowing camp which included on the water training sessions and time trials on the Seta River, the heart of western Japan's rowing scene. Rafa'ee also took part in the camp.

After the ergometer race Mads said, “Due to my condition just after having a long plane trip, my result was not as good as I would have liked. But the ergometer event was well-organised and impressive. We are really enjoying the camp on Seta River.”

The couple brought their newborn child and four-year-old daughter to Japan. Julian's second place result was impressive given her racing just six months after childbirth. For Rafa'ee it was the first time that she had seen snow which fell the morning of race day.

Chief event organiser, Taiji Uchida said the number of competitors for Japan's indoor rowing championships is expected to keep growing and it is planned for the event to be held at a larger arena next year on 18 January, 2015. The plan is to collaborate with domestic rowing organisations to increase international visitors. Uchida estimates that more than 1000 participants will compete next year. The rowing camp, before and after the event, will be continued to boost the motivation of Japanese and international rowers.

Copy thanks to Motoki Kyo, Seta Rowing Club

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