The meaning of pressure at Junior Champs
The 2010 World Rowing Junior Championships began today in Racice, the Czech Republic. Today’s racing saw athletes from 49 countries compete in the heats.
, Czech Republic (Photo by Detlev Seyb/MyRowingPhoto.com)" border="0" height="140" src="/display/modules/media/cropimage.php?mediaid=361929&x0=49&y0=79&x1=309&y1=219&zoom=0.8" title="Detlev Seyb /MyRowingPhoto.com" width="260">Despite favourable weather conditions with barely any wind and a cloudless warm day, a smattering of bad strokes and crabs, indicated racing nerves. Many of these athletes are racing at the international level for the first time and these opening rounds demonstrated a range of skill levels with some races being won by large margins.
Junior Men’s Single Sculls (JM1X) –Heats
A large turnout of 27 countries made this event the second biggest at these championships. The scullers were divided into five heats on this first day with the top four from each heat getting a direct path to the quarterfinals. All other crews would have to race again this afternoon in the repechage.
(CZE) on August 5, 2010. (Photo by Adam Nurkiewicz/Getty Images)" border="0" height="140" src="/display/modules/media/cropimage.php?mediaid=361980&x0=0&y0=10&x1=260&y1=150&zoom=0.8" title="2010 Getty Images" width="260">The reigning Junior Champion, Felix Bach was back again this year and all those racing him in heat three must have thought they had drawn the hard one in this computer generated draw. At 199cm and over 100kg, Bach showed his on-the-water skills leading from start to finish by a huge margin and leaving the rest of the field to scull for second. Behind Bach the other qualifiers for the quarterfinals went to Zygimantas Galisanskis of Lithuania, Ireland’s sole representative at this regatta, Turlough Hughes and South Africa’s Marvin Mahomed.
But Bach did not clock in the fastest qualifying time. This went to the winner of heat one, Dionysios Angelopoulos of Greece. Angelopoulos raced two weeks ago at the World Rowing Under 23 Championships and that must have acted as a fine warm up to these championships. His time at the finish line of 7:23 was the fastest time by three seconds. Coming in to qualify behind Angelopoulos was Italy’s Manuel Igneri, Daniel Matyasovszki of Hungary and Chile’s Nibaldo Yanez Ortiz finished fourth to also qualify. Angelopoulos will now go to tomorrow’s quarterfinal with a psychological advantage.
Heat two saw a strong start come from Andre Redr of Slovakia. Redr is originally from the Czech Republic and he now hopes to be the first medal for Slovakia from the Junior Championships. After finishing first in this heat, Redr is heading in the right direction to medal. Behind the Slovakian and also qualifying for the quarterfinals were Serbia’s Aleksandar Filipovic, Alvaro Torres Masias of Peru and in fourth place Vitaly Borimskiy of Russia.
The fourth heat was all about Andrew Campbell of the United States. Rowing is a big part of Campbell’s family with his younger brother also racing here in the men’s four. Campbell got off to a fast start and had earned a full boat length lead with about 40 strokes rowed. Campbell maintained this margin for the rest of the race leaving the rest of the field to work out the other spots. At the line the commanding Campbell was first with the other qualifiers being Boris Gardijan of Croatia, Facundo Torres of Argentina and Albania’s Marsel Nikaj.
The final heat, heat five, gave the home crowd something to smile about as it was led from start to finish. Jakub Podrazil of the Czech Republic is at his third junior championships and he got into the racing mood this season by being part of his country’s senior quad that raced at the first Rowing World Cup. Podrazil crossed the line ahead of Estonia’s Joosep Laos in second and also qualifying was Tome Perdigao of Portugal and Roberto Lopez of El Salvador.
Junior Men’s Double Sculls (JM2X) – Heats
This is the largest event of the 2010 World Rowing Junior Championships with 28 countries entered. These 28 nations got divided into five heats and the top four from each heat earned a direct path to tomorrow’s quarterfinals. Heat one saw New Zealand’s Sean Watts and Oliver Behrent stamp their authority early in the piece, leaving the rest of the field to try and catch them. Both Watts and Behrent are at their first international regatta and they led a number of very strong rowing nations including Denmark who finished second after a massive push to the line. This Danish push put the Netherlands into third and Portugal, in fourth, rounded out the qualifying boats.
Last year Timo Piontek of Germany became the junior World Champion of this event. This year he has a new partner in Stephan Riemekasten and together they were the best crew of heat two. Riemekasten and Piontek already had a healthy lead with just 500m rowed leaving Italy and Lithuania in a duel for second. Italy got the upper hand with a very strong second 1000m to finish second behind Germany. Lithuania still qualifies from third and Korea take the final qualifying spot.
In heat three Belarus were the fastest off the line but by the half way point they had been overtaken by both Hungary and Georgios Antonis and Spyridon Giannaros of Greece. The Greeks then showed their second half stamina moving right away from the field and leaving Hungary, in second, back in their wake. In a very spread out procession at the finish line the qualifiers were Greece, Hungary, Japan and Belarus.
(s) and Ionut Luca (b) both of Romania prepare for the start in the junior men's double sculls heat during the FISA Junior World Rowing Championships held in Racice (CZE) on August 5, 2010. (Photo by Adam Nurkiewicz/Getty Images)" border="0" height="140" src="/display/modules/media/cropimage.php?mediaid=361950&x0=48&y0=23&x1=308&y1=163&zoom=0.7000000000000001" title="2010 Getty Images" width="260">It took until the fourth heat for the fastest qualifying time to be struck and it was done by Alberic Cormerais and Mickael Marteau of France. The duo did it by staying out in front for the entire race. Even though Romania won silver last year, the French stayed ahead of them in this heat as they charged towards the finish line. France finished in a very respectable time of 6:45, two seconds ahead of their closest rival’s time, Germany in heat two. Also qualifying from this heat was Romania, Switzerland and the Czech Republic. Poland were unlucky when a massive crab set them back early on in the race and they never managed to catch up.
The top two positions sorted themselves out early on in heat five with Slovenia’s Jan Kanduc and Jernej Markovc leading the way followed by Belgium in second. This left Latvia, Estonia and Croatia to fight it out for the remaining two qualifying spots. All three of these crews gave it their best to the line with Latvia being the unlucky one.
Junior Women’s Four (JW4-) – Heats
Two heats lined up to race in the women’s four with the top boat only from each heat earning a direct path to Saturday’s final. Racing finals on Saturday is a new feature for this year and the women’s four will be the first final raced. Final spots were earned by New Zealand and Germany.
(b), Jennifer Storey, Grace Prendergast and Eve Macfarlane (s) of New Zealand compete in the Junior Women's Four heat during the FISA Junior World Rowing Championships held in Racice (CZE) on August 5, 2010. (Photo by Adam Nurkiewicz/Getty Images)" border="0" height="140" src="/display/modules/media/cropimage.php?mediaid=361955&x0=3&y0=4&x1=263&y1=144&zoom=0.6000000000000001" title="2010 Getty Images" width="260">New Zealand got their spot by going head-to-head with the United States in heat one. The United States had a small edge over New Zealand going through the 750m mark half a length ahead of the Kiwis. This fight continued with New Zealand doing a big piece at the 1250m mark and finally getting their bow ball ahead of the Americans after 1450m had been rowed. The Kiwis didn’t stop there and continued to power on to the line crossing comfortably ahead of the United States.
Germany finished fourth in this event last year and they raced from behind to win heat two. Last year’s winners, Australia had the lead at the start and held it right through to the 1500m mark. But the German’s had timed their race just that bit better and they had enough left in the tank to overtake Australia in the final sprint. It must have taken the wind out of Australia’s sails as they finished more than a boat length back and will have to return for the repechage tomorrow.
Junior Men’s Coxed Four (JM4+) – Heat
This event is no longer raced at the Olympic level but it is still strong in junior rowing and enough countries for three heats came to Racice this year. It was up to the crews to finish in the top three today if they wanted to go directly to the semifinal. Heat one opened with New Zealand in the lead followed by last year’s winners, Germany. The German’s, however, could not hold the pace and as the race progressed they began to slip back.
Meanwhile the United States, who had come from a very slow start were picking their way through the field while New Zealand found themselves dealing with Croatia. Coming into final sprint the United States had worked their way up into third and they continued to power on. New Zealand tried to hold on but with just 50m left to row the United States got their bow ball ahead of the Kiwis. USA, NZL and CRO go to the semifinal on Saturday.
For the first half of heat two Australia and Italy conducted a close battle tracking each other from across the field – Italy in lane two and Australia in lane five. This closeness was not surprising looking at last year’s final when Australia and Italy took silver and bronze respectively. This battle continued with the Czech Republic trying to close the gap through the third 500m. Then in the closing sprint Italy did a massive push with 100m remaining. It was enough to throw off the Australians. Italy, Australia and the Czech Republic go to the semifinal.
A finishing time of 6:42 by Switzerland in heat three gave them the fastest qualifying time by far in this event – a full five second ahead of the next fastest time, Italy from heat two. Switzerland scored this time by leading from start to finish. A coxed four has not been seen before at the junior championships for Switzerland, but it looks like the event was certainly suiting them today.
As the Swiss powered on they managed to secure an open water lead through the middle of the race. Coming into the final sprint Ukraine fought back but the Swiss had too much of an advantage. Switzerland, Ukraine and France go to the semifinal.
Junior Women’s Single Sculls (JW1x) – Heats
Divided into four heats, these 20 scullers were aiming to finish in the top two positions which would earn them a direct path to the semifinals on Saturday. In heat one Judith Sievers of Germany led the way. Germany’s Lisa Schmidla won this event last year and Sievers will be looking to follow in Schmidla’s footsteps. Sievers raced last year in the quad, finishing with bronze. No one got close to Sievers who was able to cross the line with open water. Also qualifying was Toni Boteva of Azerbaijan who came through from the back of the field to take second.
A solid race by 16 year old Laura Oprea of Romania gave her first place in heat two. Oprea is at her first international event and she raced a very mature and stable race at the front of the field. Behind the Romanian, Tarin Cokelj of Slovenia managed to work her way through to second to qualify. But Cokelj was a full 10 seconds down on Oprea and there’s no doubt that she will have to step up the pace when she races the semifinal on Saturday.
Aikaterini Nikolaidou of Greece recorded the fastest qualifying time in heat three when she finished in a time of 8:13. Nikolaidou raced last year as a junior in her nation’s quad and she continues her rowing career this year in the single. Nikolaidou did not lead at the start. That honour belonged to Elza Gulbe of Latvia. But by the half way point Nikolaidou had pushed through to the lead and then she moved away from Gulbe. These are the two boats that will qualify with the rest of the field a huge margin back.
For the first half of heat four, Annick Taselaar of the Netherlands and Krisztina Gyimes of Hungary remained tightly together. But then last year’s 8th place finisher, Gyimes showed her superior stamina as she kept the pace up through the second half of the race to finish first. Taselaar, at her third junior championships, remained just ahead of a fast finishing Italy to take second and qualify for the semifinal.
Junior Women’s Pair (JW2-) – Heats
The two heats in this event required crews to finish in one of the top two spots if they wanted to go directly to Saturday’s final. Last year’s winners, Romania have a new crew this year of Alexandra Bizom and Elena-Oltita Hrisca and they led the way in heat one. The duo had enough of a lead that they could keep a clear eye on the goings on behind them.
These goings on included a close battle between Bulgaria, the United States and Germany. The German Davids twins got the upper hand in the end and this earned them the second place. Romania and Germany qualify for the final on Saturday with the two fastest qualifying times.
Heat two had Kassiani and Andreanna Spyridou of Greece out in front right from the start with the rest of the field only able to watch the Greeks disappear into the distance. Belarus followed way back in second with two rowers that raced last year in their nation’s junior four. In a procession of a race, Greece and Belarus took the two qualifying spots.
Greece’s Eleni Diamanti and Lydia Ntalamagka had a small lead over Jessica Hall and Madeleine Edmunds of Australia at the start of the race. Australia held on to the Greek’s lead and by the middle of the race the battle between these two countries had moved them clear away from the rest of the field. Then, in the third 500, Hall and Edmunds made their move, getting their bow ball just inches ahead of the Greek boat. Diamanti and Ntalamagka seemed to have lost faith. Hall and Edmunds qualify for the semifinal.