Who to watch at 2017 World Rowing Under 23 Championships
The 2017 World Rowing Under 23 Championships begins in Plovdiv, Bulgaria on Wednesday 19 July with 54 nations competing over the five day regatta. The regatta culminates in finals on 22 and 23 July.
The event includes 21 boat classes and the lightweight men’s single sculls has attracted the most entries with 34 nations competing in this class. Last year Alexis Lopez Garcia of Mexico was the bronze medallist and he is back again to face some new competition including Lorenzo Galano of Italy. Galano took silver in the last year’s under-23 lightweight men’s double scull. There is also Ninos Nikolaidis of Greece who is a junior World Champion from the 2016 men’s pair and has made the switch to sculling this season.
The lightweight women’s single sculls sees the return of 2016 under-23 World Champion, Marieke Keijser of the Netherlands. Keijser has already proved herself at the senior level with a silver from World Rowing Cup III earlier this month. Annie Svensson of Sweden will be aiming to challenge Keijser. Svensson was fourth at the under-23s last year. And keep an eye out too for Clara Guerra of Italy. She is the 2016 junior World Champion in the women’s single.
The men’s pair will see a group of new combinations and it won’t be until the heats are raced on 20 July that a picture of the potential medallists will start to be established. But hoping to show themselves are the identical twins from France, Thibaud and Guillaume Turlan. The Turlan brothers raced in the men’s pair at World Rowing Cup II last month and finished sixth. But they will be up against the 2016 under-23 World Champions, Viktor Pivac and Martin Mackovic of Serbia. This is Pivac and Mackovic’s first international race since last year’s under-23 championships.
Elodie Ravera-Scaramozzino of France raced earlier this month at World Rowing Cup III and won silver in the women’s double sculls. In Plovdiv she will line up in the women’s single sculls. Ravera is also a Rio Olympian and looks to be improving with every regatta she enters. It is likely that Ravera will be in the medal hunt along with last year’s under-23 silver medallist from this boat class, Lovisa Claesson of Sweden. With 21 nations entered, this boat class as the most competitors of any of the women’s boat classes.
For the men’s single sculls, local rower Boris Yotov will have the support of the Bulgarian crowd. Yotov raced at the Rio Olympics in the men’s single sculls and he has been racing internationally since 2011. Facing Yotov will be last year’s under-23 silver medallist, Natan Wegrzycki-Szymczyk of Poland. The Pole is also a Rio Olympian, finishing seventh overall in the men’s single.
Australia look to be strong medal contenders in the women’s quadruple sculls. Three of the crew raced earlier this month in World Rowing Cup III and took bronze. In Plovdiv they will race against the current under-23 title holders and under-23 World Best Time holders, Poland. The Poles, however, have a new line-up for 2017 leaving the door open to speculation.
The men’s and women’s eights are always highly anticipated races and current under-23 World Champions in the women’s eight are the United States. The US regularly win this boat class drawing on their strong collegiate rowing base to form the crew. They will face last year’s silver medallists, Great Britain who include three of the crew that took the 2016 silver. The men’s eight was won in 2016 by the Netherlands. Seven members of that crew return in 2017 and already this season they won World Rowing Cup I and finished fifth in World Rowing Cup III. This crew will be hard to beat, but they will face the silver and bronze medallists from 2016, Great Britain and Germany respectively.