Men’s Pair (M2-) – Semifinals

Coming through from yesterday’s heats, Romania’s Marius-Vasile and Ciprian Todosa had scored the fastest time. They lined up in Semifinal One next to crowd favourites Croatia. The Croatian brothers of Valent and Martin Sinkovic got away quickly. The Sinkovics came into the pair in 2017 after winning gold in the men’s double at the Rio Olympics. Before that they had successfully competed in the men’s quadruple sculls. So sweep rowing became the new challenge. As Croatia remained at the head of the field through the middle of the race, Serbia’s Nenad Bedik and Milos Vasic slotting into second with Romania working their way through from the back of the field to get into third.

Rating 37 through the body of the race, the Sinkovics looked together and confident as they watched Serbia and Romania go neck-and-neck behind them. Meanwhile at the back of the field Germany had taken their stroke rate right down and decided not to contend for the a-final. Croatia crossed the line in first, less than a second ahead of Romania who had overtaken Serbia in the final sprint. The Sinkovics had recorded the fastest time overall of 6:22.

Semifinal Two featured the Onfroy brothers from France. Valentin and Tehophile Onfroy of France finished fourth at last year’s World Rowing Championships and they took a silver medal at last month’s World Rowing Cup III. The Netherlands, who came to this semi through the repechage, followed in second and remained within striking distance of the French. The remaining field was so, so close with just a second separating them.

The Onfroy’s then managed to break away with the rest of the field closing on Vincent Klaassens and Sander de Graar of the Netherlands. The sprint was on as five boats went for the two remaining qualifying spots. Belarus’s Dzimitry Furman and Siarhei Valadzko had come through in second with Italy, featuring last year’s World Champion Matteo Lodo, in third.

Qualifiers: CRO, ROU, SRB, FRA, BLR, ITA