Record numbers for 2017 European Rowing Junior Champs
A new star has risen among Europe’s international regatta venues with Germany’s Krefeld successfully hosting their first international regatta, the 2017 European Rowing Junior Championships. Racing was held over two days (20-21 May 2017) on Elfrather Lake, which regatta commentators dubbed the new “lake of gods” in reference to Lucerne’s Rotsee in Switzerland.
Home of Olympic gold medallist in the women’s quadruple sculls Lisa Schmidla, Krefeld is one of Germany’s greenest cities and Sunday’s perfect conditions, flat water and a light head wind provided a stunning setting for the semi-finals and finals at the regatta. About 10,000 spectators came to watch this must-do regatta for the under-19 year olds.
Introduced to the European regatta calendar in 2011 the European Rowing Junior Championships has attracted an ever-expanding field of competitors with 2017 seeing the highest numbers of entries so far - 582 athletes from 33 nations.
For the first time, Germany sent a full team to the European Rowing Junior Championships, followed closely in numbers by Romania, Russia and Italy. Azerbaijan’s single sculler Javidan Shirinov was the furthest travelled competitor.
Germany won the overall medal count securing 11 medals including five gold, four silver and two bronze medals. All 13 German boats made the finals. For many athletes, it was the first international competition of their rowing career, but the regatta also saw many returning athletes from last year’s World Rowing Junior Championships.
Both the men’s and women’s single sculls race went to Germany with Moritz Wolff and Sophie Leupold becoming junior European Champions. Wolff is the 2016 German junior champion in the single and double sculls and 6000m world record holder on the indoor rowing machine. He won ahead of Denmark’s Bastian Secher and Poland’s Fabian Baranski. Leupold, who came sixth in the junior women’s double sculls at the 2016 World Rowing Junior Championships, secured the European Champion title ahead of France’s returning junior sculler Margaux Bailleul and Isabel van Opzeeland from the Netherlands.
In the double sculls, Germany’s Jan Behrend and Simon Schlott had the fastest start and continued their lead to the finish line to win ahead of Belgium’s Tristan Vandenbussche and Marlon Colpaert. Artsem Laputsin and Yauheni Zalaty from Belarus followed in third. Behrend and Schlott took silver last year at themWorld Rowing Junior Championships in the quadruple sculls.
“It worked out exactly as we had imagined. It was going well right from the start and we were able to defend our lead to the finish,” said Schlott. Teammates Tabea Kuhnert and Leonie Menzel won the women’s double sculls with two lengths over Ireland’s Aoife Casey and Margaret Cremen. Italy’s Silvia Crosio and Greta Martinelli were third.
“We did not expect to win by this much. It’s just great,” Kuhnert commented after the race.
In the men’s quadruple sculls Switzerland’s Valentin Huehn, Dominic Condrau, Andrin Gulich and Linus Copes pushed Germany into silver, winning by one canvas in one of the tightest races of the day. Denmark followed in third. In the women’s quadruple sculls Romania’s Larisa Elena Rosu, Andreea Grapinoiu, Simona Geanina Radis, Tabita Maftei took home the European Championship title ahead of Germany with Russia finishing in third.
Romania won four gold medals including the women’s pair and women’s eight. The 2016 World Rowing Junior Champion in the junior men’s four Stefan-Constantin Berariu added gold in the junior men’s pair with partner Florin-Sorin Lehaci. Romania also won two silver and one bronze medal.
Croatia won the women’s four as well as the men’s coxed four, while the men’s eight was won by Russia.
“The Elfrather Lake offers good conditions for an event like this and it is always great when new organisers present themselves to host international events,” Ryszard Stadniuk, Chair of the European Rowing Management Board said.
Crefeld’s Rowing Club’s President and member of the organising committee Christoph Lueke commented: “We have hosted a number of regattas over the last few months and the first regatta over 2000m a few weeks ago with the German Small Boat Championships. But this is something special for us as well as for our over 300 volunteers to host Europe’s best junior rowers here. It’s been exciting to see all the international uniforms on our lake.”
Full results here.