Record entries for 2014 European Rowing Championships
A record 36 nations will take part in the 2014 European Rowing Championships in Belgrade, Serbia with 659 competitors entered to race.
This large number of entries has been aided by the European Championships being changed to an early-season date in the calendar rather than its previous position at the very end of the rowing season. Last year May was tested and it proved to be popular.
Three countries - Germany, Italy and the Netherlands - are sending a full 17-boat team with Great Britain sending 16 crews followed by Russia and the Czech Republic each with 15 crews.
Germany topped the medals table in 2013 scoring nine medals. Italy followed in second and the Czech Republic was third. Germany will face stiff competition from Great Britain this year with the British sending a much more complete team than in previous years. One of the most anticipated races will be the men's eight with the German Olympic Champions facing the British World Champions. This is the first time for these two crews have faced each other since last year's World Rowing Championships in Chungju (KOR).
This regatta will mark the return of single sculling legend Olaf Tufte of Norway. The two-time Olympic Champion in the men's single sculls took a break from racing after finishing ninth at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Tufte will have a tough challenge when he comes up against World Champion Ondrej Synek of the Czech Republic and 2013 World Championship bronze medallist Marcel Hacker of Germany.
Laura Milani and Elisabetta Sancassani of Italy are favourites in the lightweight women's double sculls as they come to this regatta as defending World Champions. Olympic Champion in the double, Katherine Copeland of Great Britain has returned to racing and is making her post-London debut with Imogen Walsh. Together they are likely to challenge the Italians.
Racing will take place on Belgrade's Sava Lake and the Serbian Rowing Federation has reported that despite the recent flooding in Serbia the European Rowing Championships are going ahead as planned. Secretary General of the Serbian Rowing Federation Nebojsa Jevremovic stated, "The water level of the Sava River which surrounds the venue is at the usual level for this time of year and does not present a threat. With this in mind, the safety of all of the participants and spectators of the 2014 European Rowing Championships in Belgrade is assured."
The European Rowing Championships was reinstated in 2007 and is open to the 43 European national rowing federations, including Israel. There are 17 boat classes (14 Olympic events plus three International events).
The 2014 European Rowing Championships goes from 30 May - 1 June 2014. Full entries and provisional timetable can be found at www.worldrowing.com. Race reports, live results, live blogging, live race tracker and a photo gallery will be available on www.worldrowing.com throughout the regatta.