Who to watch; 2019 World Rowing Junior Championships
The 2019 World Rowing Junior Championships sees an impressive 550 athletes competing at the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games regatta venue in Tokyo, Japan.
In 2018, the United States finished on top of the medals table at the junior championships with two gold medals, four silver and one bronze. Italy and Great Britain followed in second and third respectively. The United States will look to continue their impressive performance as the only country to enter a full fourteen-boat line-up in Tokyo.
The junior women’s single sculls has attracted the second largest number of entries for women with 21 competitors. It is a young field without any of last year’s finalists returning this year. This means the podium is up for the taking. Keep an eye on Barbora Prodrazilova of the Czech Republic and Isabel van Opzeeland of the Netherlands. Both athletes have stepped out of a-final finishing sweep boats to take a crack at the single sculls.
The junior men’s single sculls sees the return of last year’s bronze medallist, Tristan Vandenbussche of Belgium. Vandenbussche will go up against a field of 19 entries. He’ll have to keep an eye on 2018 finalists Ivan Brynza from Belarus and Gennaro di Mauro from Italy.
Greece took the gold at last year’s event in the junior women’s pair, but the line-up has moved up to the under-23 level and Greece has entered a new, young pair. But keep an eye on the United States. Bronze medallist from the women’s coxed four, Heidi Jacobson has paired up with Kylie Oaks. Lithuania and Germany are often in the final in this boat class, watch out too for their new line-ups.
Romania had a spectacular race in the junior men’s pair at the 2018 World Rowing Junior Championships, finishing just 0.10 seconds ahead of Germany. Florin Arteni-Fintinariu is back this year with a new partner, Alexandru Gherasim. The Romanian pair will go up against new combinations from both Germany and Croatia, the 2018 silver and bronze medallists respectively. But both countries are strong in this boat class and will likely give the Romanians a challenge.
As the women’s four continues to develop, there are nine entries in the coxless four and seven in the junior women’s coxed four. The United States and Italy showed their strength in women’s sweep rowing by medalling in both events last year. Three of Italy’s gold medal coxed four are returning this year to face new crews from last year’s silver and bronze medallists, Australia and the United States. The United States has kept one of their gold medallists from the coxless four, Julia Braz. She will carry her team against tough challenges from Italy and New Zealand.
In the junior men’s four, Great Britain dominated the last two years, but has a novice line-up heading to Tokyo. Competition is likely to come from Italy and Romania. Romania has one returning athlete, Gheorghe Morar from their fourth-place finish last year. Watch out too for Germany, they have often made it to the final in this boat class. The junior men’s coxed four has been Italy’s for the taking the last few years, but they have not entered in Tokyo. But keep an eye on Ireland. They’ve had increasing success at the under-23 and senior level and this is one of their few boats entered, it is likely to be fast.
The junior women’s double sculls has a huge entry with 22 crews competing. The top is difficult to call. China won the 2018 World Rowing Junior Championships and returns with one of their rowers, Peibing Zhang. Watch out too for Greece and Germany. They often make it to the final in this boat class, but have entered new line-ups this year.
It is a similar situation in the junior men’s double sculls. Germany has one returner from their 2018 gold medal crew, Paul Krueger. He is joined by Aaron Erfanian, who finished third last year in the junior men’s quad. Keep an eye too on Italy. They return with Nicolo Carucci, who finished fourth in the men’s double sculls last year.
Switzerland took gold in the junior women’s quadruple sculls in 2018 and may be set to do so again. They have one returning member, Celia Dupre, at stroke seat. The Netherlands and Germany have been the biggest challengers thus-far. Both have new line-ups, but are likely to be strong again this year. Watch out too for the Czech Republic. They finished fourth last year and have a couple returning in their line-up.
In the junior men’s quadruple sculls, Germany might be the boat to beat. They have two returners from their crew that finished third at the 2018 World Rowing Junior Championships. But watch out too for the Czech Republic and Great Britain.
The Czech Republic won the junior women’s eight two years in a row, but they have not entered in Tokyo. Instead, all eyes will be on the United States. They came second last year and have an extensive women’s sweep rowing programme. Then it is a bit of a toss-up. China, Germany, Italy and Russia round out the entries, but have all had mixed results in this boat class. It might just come down to the line.
Great Britain broke Germany’s winning streak last year by taking the top spot on the podium in the junior men’s eight. But both have entered entirely new line-ups. Watch out too for the United States. They took silver last year and have the slight advantage of one returning rower.