Tufte and Hacker improve through semifinals
The 2011 World Rowing Championships in Bled, Slovenia continued with semifinals in the men’s quadruple sculls, men’s pair, women’s double sculls and men’s single sculls. Crews qualifying for the final would also secure spots in the 2012 Olympic Games and there were some extremely happy faces at the finish line. Looking very happy was Germany’s single sculler, Marcel Hacker. He came back from back surgery to qualify today for the Olympics. So did Olaf Tufte of Norway who has come through from a rather mediocre season.
Men’s Quadruple Sculls (M4x) – Semifinals
Russia has been coming along in leaps and bounds this season and they looked to be taking another leap today in semifinal one. Russia’s Ryabcev, Salov, Morgachev and Fedorovtsev took off in the lead followed closely by World Champions Croatia and Olympic Champions Poland. The Poles have one change in their boat that has remained stable since 2005. An injured Adam Korol has been replaced by Piotr Licznerski. These three countries continued to hold on to the three qualifying spots with Great Britain following in fourth.
The final sprint came into view and Sain, Martin and the Sinkovic brothers of Croatia stepped up the pace. A new-look lean Martin Sinkovic told World Rowing before the race that they had more boat speed this season and as the Croatian’s crossed the line in first it certainly looked that way. Russia and Poland were right behind at the line with less than a second separating the top three boats. Not only do Croatia, Russia and Poland qualify for the final, they also secure spots in the 2012 Olympic Games. Great Britain, in fouth, had missed out by less than half a second.
Finishing order: CRO, RUS, POL, GBR, USA, SUR
Damir Martin (CRO)
“The race was incredible. We reached our goal and we hope we will manage to be so successful in the future.”
Salov Igor (RUS)
“The race was fine. We are ready for the finals.”
Jelinski Michael (POL)
“We are very happy that we made it to the A final. We had some difficulties but we hope we will manage them.”
The Germans have really stepped up this season and they rowed a beautiful piece out in front in semifinal two. Schulze, Wende, Schoof and Grohmann looked a picture of synchronicity as they powered their boat down the flat Lake Bled waters. Following most closely was Australia with Cuba, New Zealand and Italy huddled closely together.
Germany continued to look stylish and did not seem too concerned of the sprint that Australia was conducting to the line. But the real fight remained for the third position. Cuba, New Zealand and Italy all had a chance. In a huge sprint ratings hit the low 40s. Italy had done it. Germany, Australia and Italy earn spots in the final as well as securing Olympic spots. New Zealand had missed out by 8/100th of a second.
Results: GER, AUS, ITA, NZL, CUB, UKR
Tim Grohmann (GER)
“This was great and of course Olympic qualification was one of our aims. But honestly, as the World Cup leaders we were counting on getting the Olympic ticket at this event. The goal for the final now is a medal. “
Karsten Forsterling (AUS)
“Olympic qualification – great news, we didn’t actually think about it as we were focused on this race and getting to the final, but of course the qualification was one of our goals. We didn’t want to leave anything to chance and second place in the semi is a good result. Now it’s all about recovery for tomorrow.”
Matteo Stefanini (ITA)
These were good conditions. With every race, we get stronger.”
Men’s Pair (M2-) – Semifinals
It was no surprise to see Great Britain’s Pete Reed and Andrew Triggs Hodge in the lead in the first semifinal. This duo have been the second best boat for the last two years after leaving their Olympic Champion men’s four behind following the Beijing Olympics. The powerful Reed and Hodge had earned a boat length over Canada in second. The Canadians (Scott Frandsen and Dave Calder) were second at Beijing but have only just come back into the pair this season. Germany’s Maximillian Munski and Felix Drahotta slotted into third with these three boats forming a procession into the finish line.
The Germans pushed it at the end, but they were safely in third and did not need any more speed. Hungary and France buttoned off completely to save themselves for the B-final where they will have to finish in the top five to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics. Great Britain, Canada and Germany earn Olympic spots and spots in tomorrow’s final.
Results: GBR, CAN, GER, USA, HUN, FRA
Andrew Triggs Hodge (GBR)
“We had a good and solid race, just like one needs to have in a semi- final. It is a very exciting competition, and we are looking forward to the finals.”
Scott Frandsen (CAN)
“This is a good step, we qualified the boat. Now we need to rest. The new schedule with back to back semis and A- finals is something we need to get used to.”
Maximilian Munski (GER)
“We are very happy to have it into the final. We were the fifth ranked pair in Germany and when the decision was made that we would be rowing the pair, all we were aiming for was a spot in the final. And we knew that this would also automatically mean the Olympic qualification. So we have reached our main goal, have reached the peak, everything else in the final will be a bonus now.”
Semifinal two saw two-time World Champions, Eric Murray and Hamish Bond of New Zealand start off rather slowly with Italy’s Niccolo Mornati and Lorenzo Carboncini taking off very speedily. A push through the second 500m had Bond and Murray take the lead. The duo arrived in Europe in June and have been here since with Murray taking a very quick trip back to New Zealand to meet his newly born baby.
With Murray and Bond now in the lead and Italy firmly in second the Netherlands and Serbia decided to back off completely and save themselves for finishing in an Olympic qualifying spot in tomorrow’s b-final. The only real fight was now the one for third between Australia and the Greek identical twins, Nikolaos and Apostolos Gkountoulas. The Greeks had the upper hand and, with a 39 stroke rate sprint, held off the Australians.
Results: NZL, ITA, GRE, AUS, NED, SRB
Hamish Bond (NZL)
“We haven’t raced since Sunday so it was good to get the feeling back again today in the semifinal. But tomorrow is the big day, that is what we have been waiting for all year.”
Gkountoulas Nikolaos (GRE)
“We are extremely happy with the result. The race was difficult. We reached our goal to be in the finals and qualify for the Olympics.”
Women’s Double Sculls (W2x) – Semifinals
Coming into semifinal one Kerry Hore and Kim Crow of Australia were the favourites. They have been together since 2010 when they finished second at the World Rowing Championships. Hore is an Olympic medallist while Crow is an Olympian but not from the double. Today the Australian duo made a fine performance, leading over Anastasiia Kozhenkova and Yana Dementieva of Ukraine.
Kozhenkova and Dementieva were in their country’s priority boat, the quad. But when it appeared that Ukraine may not win the quad, Kozhenkova and Dementieva were put into the double. The duo held on to second over 2009 World Champions, Magdalena Fularczyk and Julia Michalska of Poland. The order remained unchanged into the line with only Germany challenging to get into a qualifying spot. They were unsuccessful. Australia, Ukraine and Poland go through to Saturday’s final and also qualify for next year’s Olympic Games.
Results: AUS, UKR, POL, GER, USA, FIN
Kim Crow (AUS)
“We had a few things to work on after the heat and made steps forward now in the semi. For the final we’ll still take a few more steps.”
Kerry Hore (AUS)
“Semis are the most nerve-wrecking races. Everybody wants to have that final spot, so it’s great to have won this semi.”
World Champions, Great Britain (Anna Watkins and Katherine Grainger) made very easy work of semifinal two. This duo have completely outclassed their competitors and they go into the 2011 World Rowing Championship finals as unbeaten since they came together last year. Today Watkins and Grainger did not have to sprint the finish and cruised home at an easy 29 stroke rate at the head of the field.
Behind the British, New Zealand’s Fiona Paterson and Anna Reymer worked hard to hold on to second over the Antosova sisters of the Czech Republic. Lenka and Jitka Antosova were fifth in 2009 and fourth last year. Is this their year to medal?
These three countries were relatively comfortably inside the qualifying spots and nothing changed to the line. Great Britain, New Zealand and the Czech Republic all qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games. They also earn spots in tomorrow’s final.
Results: GBR, NZL, CZE, SRB, CHN, IRL
Katherine Grainger (GBR)
“We had a very good race, beautiful conditions. We were quite relaxed really, not expending too much energy with the A-finals coming tomorrow.”
Fiona Paterson (NZL)
“We had a very good start, managed to get out well and hold it. Of course the Olympic Qualification was in the back of our mind, but it’s just great to be in the final now. Recovery now and then to the final.”
Men’s Single Sculls (M1x) – Semifinals
Yesterday Angel Fournier Rodriguez of Cuba raced against reigning World Champion, Ondrej Synek of the Czech Republic in the quarterfinal and beat Synek to the line. The two scullers raced each other again today in semifinal one. But this time there was World Cup medallist, Alan Campbell of Great Britain in the mix and also Germany’s best sculler, Marcel Hacker.
Campbell used his sprinting prowess to get out quickly with Hacker and Synek chasing hard. By the middle of the race these three superior scullers had moved clear away from the rest of the field with Synek now pushing past Hacker to take second. Coming into the final sprint Campbell held a high 37 stroke rate to maintain the lead but with about 100m left to row Hacker and Synek both took the pressure off and the race’s status quo was maintained. Campbell, Synek and Hacker got spots in the final tomorrow and they also qualified this boat for their country at the 2012 London Olympics.
Results: GBR, CZE, GER, CUB, LTU, BUL
Marcel Hacker (GER)
"Awesome, this was just a cool and fun race. I'm back and the back held up. A big thank you to my operating and rehab team. They did a fantastic job to get me here. Everything from here on is an extra and a bonus. I'm in the final and I qualified for the Olympics- that was the main goal."
Last year’s A-finallist, Liang Zhang of China had a flying start in semifinal two. Former World Champion, Mahe Drysdale of New Zealand seemed unconcerned. Keeping to his own race plan, Drysdale slowly pushed ahead of China and took over in the lead. Lassi Karonen of Sweden then pushed into second. Karonen has come to Bled looking bigger and stronger and he has his greatest supporter with him here, his four-year-old son Gustav. Karonen held on to second with Drysdale, now on a steady 31 stroke rate pace, remaining in the lead.
Coming into the final sprint, Olympic Champion Olaf Tufte of Norway upped his stroke rate and charged for the line. Tufte got into third, but that wasn’t enough. He then overtook Karonen and went after Drysdale. Through all of this Drysdale had remained at a steady 31 – 32 stroke rate keeping an eye out for his competition. In the last three strokes Drysdale realised Tufte was still coming after him and upped his stroke rate to cross in first. New Zealand, Norway and Sweden earn spots in the 2012 Olympic Games and also go to tomorrow’s final. The rest of the field backed off, saving themselves for qualifying for the Olympics in tomorrow’s B-final.
Results: NZL, NOR, SWE, CHN, USA, AZE
Mahe Drysdale (NZL)
“The main goal for Olympic qualification was accomplished. I can't wait for tomorrow’s final.”
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