Synek wins his 6th Holland Beker title
Ondrej Synek won his sixth title at the Aegon Koninklijke - Holland Beker Regatta, ahead of two-time Olympic Champion Mahe Drysdale last weekend. Synek from the Czech Republic and Drysdale from New Zealand have been regular participants in this premier event of the Dutch rowing calendar and both of them have picked up five titles each over the years. Synek, however, has not been on top of the podium since 2011.
The Holland Beker is raced on the 2014 World Championship course, the Bosbaan, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. This year’s event saw extreme cross-head wind conditions that forced the fairness committee to run time trials for the straight final events on Sunday morning and reallocate lanes for the finals taking place in the afternoon.
The two main events are the men’s and women’s single sculls, which are raced in the middle of the day on Sunday and regularly attract top names in the world of rowing. In the women’s single, Germany’s Annekatrin Thiele claimed the Ladies’ Trophy. This is the first Holland Beker title for Thiele who is an Olympic Champion in the women’s quadruple sculls and two-time Olympic silver medallist in the women’s double sculls. Thiele seemed unstoppable in the waves and had put eight seconds on the field by 500 metres. In second place was Mette Dyrlund Petterson from Denmark and in third, Cara Grzeskowiak from Capital Lakes Rowing Club in Australia.
The men’s single went to Synek who finished four seconds ahead of Drysdale. In third place was Julius Peschel from Hannover Rowing Club in Germany. Before the race, Synek and Drysdale were tied with five titles each, but his win officially pushes Synek into the lead. Drysdale is using the race as part of his comeback following a post-Rio Olympics one-year break. Last week, he was forced to withdraw from the second World Rowing Cup due to illness, but he is working back to top form and will be competing next weekend at the Henley Royal Regatta in Great Britain before traveling to Lucerne, Switzerland, where he will race teammate Robert Manson for the top spot as New Zealand’s men’s single.
The Holland Beker is steeped in history, with the first edition taking place in 1886. The ‘Beker’ or Cup that was originally awarded in 1886 is still presented to the winner today (to be handed back after the ceremony), along with a small medal emblazoned with the Amsterdam coat of arms. The winner, second and third places of the Holland Beker and the Ladies’ Trophy also receive a cash prize, one of the few in the sport of rowing.
Due to a couple cancellations of the race over the years, the 2018 event represents the 125th edition of the race. The women’s trophy was added in 1988 and has seen several impressive winners including six-time Olympian Ekaterina Karsten of Belarus, Olympic Champion Kim Brennan of Australia, Olympic Champion Inge Janssen of the Netherlands and World Champion Emma Twigg of New Zealand.
The event now also boasts many boat classes and categories, including juniors, lightweights, university and a full range of elite events. For full results from this year’s edition, click here.