Rising standards mark World Best Times in Para-rowing finals
Racing a day early, the 2013 World Rowing Championships in Chungju, Korea saw the first World Champions for 2013 crowned.
The finalists in the five Para-rowing events had to re-plan their schedules as their finals were pushed forward a day after weather forecasts predicted storms to arrive in Chungju on Thursday. Today these athletes raced in temperatures reaching 30 degrees Celsius under cloudy skies with almost flat calm conditions with Natalia Bolshakova of Russia annihilating the World Best Time in the AS women’s single sculls by nearly 12 seconds. Erik Horrie of Australia did the same knocking ten seconds off the World Best Time in the AS men’s single sculls.
AS Women’s Single Sculls (ASW1x) – Final
In the heats two days ago 2013 newcomer Birgit Skarstein of Norway recorded the fastest time with Natalia Bolshakova of Russia looking to be Skarstein’s stiffest competition. This is also Bolshakova’s first year rowing and these two athletes have burst onto the Para-rowing scene both with wins during the season against Paralympic Champion Alla Lysenko of Ukraine. Lysenko, who is having a rather inconsistent season, needed the repechage to make it through to the final.
Skarstein shot out of the start but Bolshakova had the leading edge. Through the middle of the race Skarstein still had the edge as these two boats battled it out at the head of the field. Coming into the final sprint both of these scullers took their stroke rate to 43 with Bolshakova using a more rounded stroke style. The pressure was intense as Brazil’s Claudia Santos came through to overtake Lysenko and move into the bronze medal spot. In a field where the standards keep on rising Bolshakova had upped the bar. The Russian had set a new World Best Time by a huge 12 seconds and become a World Champion. The new World Best Time had become 5:13.95 breaking the former time, set in 2009 by Alla Lysenko at 5:25.17.
At the finish, in a mark of true sportsmanship, Bolshakova handed an emotional Skarstein a Russian doll.
Results: RUS, NOR, BRA, UKR, ISR, RSA
Birgit Skarstein – NOR – Silver
"It was great, I worked so hard and it worked! I love the fact that rowing is such an integrated sport. It’s something that all sports can learn from, it really mirrors society and I think that rowing is the introduction to an ideal world."
Korea’s Sejeong Kim warmed up the crowd by leading the way in this B-final. Rating a consistent and smooth 39 strokes per minute, Kim led the entire race. This is Kim’s first international race and she can now claim to be seventh in the world in this event.
Results: KOR, HUN, USA
AS Men’s Single Sculls (ASM1x) – Final
There was little doubt that Australia’s Erik Horrie had the favourite label around his neck. Horrie won his heat two days ago clocking a time that nearly set a new World Best Time. But Horrie, who was second at last year’s Paralympic Games, was yet to meet Paralympic bronze medallist, Alexey Chuvashev of Russia. Chuvashev won his heat, also in a very good time, to qualify for today’s final.
A powerful start by Igor Bondar of Ukraine got him into the lead over his more seasoned competition. Could Bondar sustain it? Bondar has been competing internationally since 2012 and was giving it his all in this race. Coming through the 500m mark, though, Horrie pushed into the lead. Bondar, meanwhile was holding his own and remained ahead of Chuvashev in third and reigning World Champion, Tom Aggar of Great Britain in fourth.
Now easily at the head of the field Horrie, rating 31, looked smooth, relaxed and together. Crossing the line in a time of 4:35.98, Horrie had smashed the World Best Time. Behind Horrie, Bondar had pulled off a stunner to finish second. Chuvashev held off Aggar to take third. Horrie’s time had been ten seconds faster than the former World Best Time of 4:45.02 set by Huang Cheng last year at the Paralympic Games. Bonder’s time of 4:42.62 was also below the Cheng’s time.
Results: AUS, UKR, RUS, GBR, KOR, ITA
Erik Horrie – AUS – Gold
"An amazing start by the Ukrainian, this boat class has really stepped up to another level. I am absolutely speechless about winning and setting the World Best Time .
Igor Bondar – UKR – Silver
"I am an old man, but a master. My race went to plan, but I knew that Horrie would win, he is very strong with great technique."
A brutal race went on at the head of the field between Johannes Schmidt of Germany and Brazil’s Luciano Luna de Oliveira. Both of these Para-rowers made their first appearance on the international scene in 2010 and they have been plugging away ever since. Using a higher stroke rate of 46 Schmidt got to the line just ahead of Luna de Oliveira who was rating 41.
Results: GER, ESP, BRA, JPN, HUN, USA
TA Mixed Double Sculls (TAMi2x) – Final
France and the United States both won their heats giving them a direct path to today’s final. All of the other crews had to do an extra repechage race. What would that mean for energy levels today? A tightly packed field at the start showed the talent in this race. Australia’s Gavin Bellis and Kathryn Ross then got their nose in front. Bellis and Ross had gone through a very tight heat two days ago against France and it looked to be happening again today with the United States and Ukraine also very much on the pace.
Ukraine and Australia both had gone through an extra race by competing in yesterday’s repechage but it was doing them no harm. Then Bellis and Ross began to inch away from the pack with France’s Perle Bouge and Stephane Tardieu working hard to hold on. Meanwhile Paralympic bronze medallists Robert Jones and Oksana Masters of the United States were going stroke for stroke against Iryna Kyrychenko and Dmytro Ivanov of Ukraine.
At the line Bellis and Ross had earned the World Championship title, France were in second and Ukraine had just pipped the United States to become 2013 bronze medallists.
Results: AUS, FRA, UKR, USA, NED, ISR
Gavin Bellis – AUS – Gold
"Saying we’re ecstatic is an understatement. We crossed the finish line and Kathryn had to tell me how we did."
Kathryn Ross – AUS – Gold
"We worked at it all week, we came from the winter at home where it was -3 degrees so it was a bit of a shock. After 7 years it’s the first time we’ve won the championships."
Iryna Kyrychenko– UKR – Silver
"We are very happy with the finish and this medal. We’ve trained so many years together (seven)."
Right from the word ‘go’ Russia’s Svetlana Nuzhdina and Vasily Feoktistov had the leading edge. Both of these boats had raced in the repechage yesterday and the Russian duo must have balanced their energy a little better. Rating in the low 30s they won easily.
Results: RUS, JPN
LTA Mixed Double Sculls (LTAMix2x) – Final
This is the first time that the LTA mixed double sculls has been raced at the World Rowing Championships and the five countries entered raced in a preliminary race yesterday. In that race Ukraine proved to be the fastest boat. Today Kateryna Morozova and Dmytro Aleksieiev of Ukraine followed the same pattern. By the middle of the race the duo had built up enough of a lead to feel a little bit of comfort. Morozova has competed previously in the LTA mixed coxed four while this is Aleksieiev’s first year.
Turning the race into a procession Ukraine remained in the lead with Germany’s Anke Molkenthin and Marcus Klemp following in second and the United States in third. Ukraine now claim rights to being the inaugural winners of this event.
Results: UKR, GER, USA, KOR
Kateryna Morozova – UKR – Gold "The race went pretty good, but we made some mistakes. We wanted to row better. The water was good, but it was very hot and humid which makes it really tough."
Dmytro Aleksieiev – UKR – Gold
"I used to be a swimmer and in swimming everything is alone. In rowing, I have a team and a boat, that’s why I’m rowing."
Anke Molkenthin – GER – Silver
"It was a perfect race. We did exactly what we wanted to do. They (Ukraine) were faster than us, so it was a fair end to the race. We came to the double from the four because there was no four anymore. The combination was difficult to start as it is a combination of TA and LTA, but we have found a middle ground."
Natalie McCarthy – USA – Bronze "We are going to continue to keep training through 2014. We were both training before, but separately, and we started training together in June. I’ve been training for this for eight years, it’s a dream come true. I’m living the dream."
LTA Mixed Coxed Four (LTAMix4+) – Final
In the preliminary race yesterday the reigning Paralympic Champions, Great Britain showed their pedigree when they won by a handy margin. The British boat contained 2012 Paralympic Champions Pamela Relph and Naomi Riches. The outstanding Riches has not lost a major race since the 2008 Paralympic Games. Joining Relph and Riches in the boat were Oliver Hester and James Fox with coxswain Oliver James.
By the middle of the race Great Britain had slotted into first with Italy in second and South Africa a little way back in third. The Italian crew included celebrated coxswain Giuseppe Di Capua. Di Capua won Olympic gold at the Seoul Olympics on the nearby Han River in 1988. At this time Di Capua was coxing the men’s coxed pair. Di Capua just returned to coxing this year after a 17 year break.
In the closing sprint Great Britain kept the pressure on to finish first and less than one second outside of the World Best Time. The Italian’s took second and South Africa held on to the bronze.
Results: GBR, ITA, RSA, USA, KOR, UKR
James C. Fox – GBR – Gold
"It is such a relief, a weight lifted off my shoulders. I am so happy. It’s been a tough year juggling work and training. We’ve only come together in the last couple of months."
Pamela Relph – GBR – Gold
"We stuck to our race plan which was to stay relaxed and row in the race as we do in training. We are very relieved we did what we set out to do."
Giuseppe Di Capua – ITA – Silver
"I haven’t counted my medals, but this one is the most important one, it has been 20 years since my last medal, which was also a silver."
Paola Protopapa – ITA – Silver
"It was really great work, it didn’t go exactly as planned because everyone wants to win, but it was still great. We’ve made really good progress having been together for three months."
Gavin Kilpatrick – RSA – Bronze
"It’s the first time for two of us to race internationally and the first time as a crew to race internationally. It was a lot closer than our race yesterday and we had work a lot harder, but we are very, very happy with our results."