Who to (imaginary) Watch: World Rowing Fantasy Cup III. The final.
This is the last, and final, round of the World Rowing Fantasy Cup and the stakes are high.
The best of rowing’s past and present have battled their way through the first two World Rowing Fantasy Cup rounds to end up here, facing off against a new batch of challengers. Settle in and learn more about who you should ‘imaginary’ watch this weekend. And don’t forget to press the vote button for day one and two of the Cup: Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd May. Vote on World Rowing Instagram or www.worldrowing.com
Men’s Pair (Day 1)
Match-up: Steve Redgrave and Matthew Pinsent (GBR) vs Eric Murray and Hamish Bond (NZL)
The ultimate match-up in the men’s pair and one that has been debated for years. The British came out of round two with a narrow win ahead of the Sinkovic brothers, but now they will go up against arguably the most famous boat in the history of the sport: The Kiwi Pair. Eric Murray and Hamish Bond set almost every record possible and dominated the rowing scene for two Olympic cycles. From 2009 to 2016, the pair did not lose a single race, resulting in 69 consecutive wins (in the men’s pair) and a handful of wins together in the men’s coxed pair. They also currently hold the World Best Time at 6:08.50. So, what if the all-star British went up against the formidable Kiwis: would the British determination or the Kiwi’s sizzling third 500 metres get them across the finish line first?
Women’s pair (Day 1)
Match-up: Helen Glover and Heather Stanning (GBR) vs. Georgeta Andrunache, Viorica Sussanu (ROU)
Two of history’s best women’s pairs are on the start line in this final round of the World Rowing Fantasy Cup. With the introduction of the Romanian pair, Georgeta Andrunache and Victoria Sassanu, Great Britain’s Glover and Stanning will have a tough fight on their hands. Andrunache and Sassanu racked up an impressive medal count in their time, often racing in both the women’s pair and the women’s eight. They hold Olympic gold together in the pair from 2004 and 2008, but also won Olympic gold in the eight in 2000 and bronze in the eight in 2008. The Romanian women’s eight has fared well in the Fantasy Cup so far. Can the women’s pair overtake the British combination?
Men’s Eight (M8+) (Day 1)
Match-up: 2016 British men’s eight vs. 2019 German men’s eight
It is almost history repeating itself, but with some slight changes in the men’s eights for the final round of the World Rowing Fantasy Cup. The 2016 British men’s eight beat the Germans at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. But the German men’s eight has been unstoppable ever since. The 2019 German men’s eight are current World Champions and current World Best Time holders. They have been almost undefeated since 2016 and are looking set to be the next Olympic Champions. So, what if the 2019 German men’s boat went up against the British line-up from 2016?
Women’s Eight (W8+) (Day 1)
Match-up: 2004 Romanian women’s eight vs. 2019 New Zealand women’s eight
The Romanian women’s eight from 2004 has ploughed their way through the Fantasy Cup series, winning the first two rounds. Their impressive World Championship and Olympic Game medal count has definitely worked to their advantage. But can they hold up against the 2019 World Champions from New Zealand? The Kiwi boat is relatively young and their success has only materialised in the last few years. But they are currently the world’s best, and have proven their speed against the best of the rest. So, if Romania went up against New Zealand, which bow ball would cross the line first?
Lightweight women’s double sculls (Day 2)
Match up: Zoe McBride and Jackie Kiddle (NZL) vs. Constanta Burcica & Angela Alupei-Tamas (ROU)
The Kiwi duo of Zoe McBride and Jackie Kiddle have made their way through two rounds of racing. They are the current leaders in this boat class, but they are about to go up against two strong forces, Constanta Burcica and Angela Alupei-Tamas of Romania. The Romanian double is known for their two Olympic gold medals together in 2000 and 2004. While it took some time for the double to come together as a team, when they did, it was magic. They quickly found unprecedented speed and worked their way to two Olympic titles. In this fantasy round, would you vote for past or present?
Lightweight men’s double sculls (LM2x) (Day 2)
Match-up: Rasmus Quist and Mads Rasmussen (DEN) vs. Tomasz Kucharski & Robert Sycz (POL)
The Danish duo have proven their ability to win, coming strong through the first two rounds of the World Rowing Fantasy Cup. They are known for their sprint finishes. Will they be able to pull it off in the final Fantasy Cup? They will face off against the Polish double of Tomasz Kucharski and Robert Sycz. Kucharski and Sycz are known for their two Olympic gold medals, in 2004 and 2008. They also proved that they are capable of peaking when it really counts, having finished second to Italy at almost every World Championships between their gold medal Olympic wins. If these two iconic crews were to race, which double would come out on top?
PR2 para mixed double sculls (PR2Mix2x) (Day 2)
Match-up: Laurence Whiteley and Lauren Rowles (GBR) vs. Corne de Koning and Annika van der Meer (NED)
The British won their match-up at the second World Rowing Fantasy Cup in style when they beat the French double of Perle Bouge and Stephane Tardieu. They will head to the start line against fellow real-life competitors, Annika van der Meer and Corne de Koning from the Netherlands. The Dutch double has been racing together since 2017 and have seen almost unbeatable success until the British pulled off a win against them at the 2019 World Rowing Championships. Now, these two doubles will be lining up again in the fantasy world and the question to you is – who do you think would win?
Men’s single sculls (M1x) (Day 2)
Match-up: Mahe Drysdale (NZL) vs. Oliver Zeidler (GER)
The ultimate showdown of rowing’s king and the young gun. Mahe Drysdale of New Zealand fought his way through the rounds to make it to the final of the World Rowing Fantasy Cup. He will now take on one of the youngest World Champions ever, Oliver Zeidler of Germany. Zeidler’s success has come fast and furious with his first-ever international race in 2018 and his first World title just one year later. But Zeidler is new to the sport. If Zeidler’s young power went up against Drysdale in his prime, who would take the win?
Women’s single sculls (W1x) (Day 2)
Match-up: Ekaterina Karsten (BLR) vs. Sanita Puspure (IRL)
Ekaterina Karsten is arguably the best women’s single sculler in rowing history. Her dominant performance in the World Rowing Fantasy Cup also proves that rowing fans around the world recognise her talent. Coming into the final round of the Fantasy Cup, she will face today’s great, Sanita Puspure. Puspure has been competing internationally since 1999, but she has truly found her magic in the last couple of years. In 2018, Puspure won her first World Championship title in the women’s single sculls. In 2019, she proved that it was not a one-off, winning her second title and becoming a favourite going into the Olympic year. So, what if Puspure went up against Karsten? Who would you have crossing the line first?