Who to Watch: 2020 European Rowing Championships
The first, and only, major on-water rowing event of the 2020 season is just days away and the anticipation is growing.
The 2020 European Rowing Championships attracted entries from 31 nations, totalling more than 570 athletes. Teams are already heading to Poznan, Poland to prepare for their one chance to truly test their speed in 2020.
Many teams are racing in the line-ups they expect to send to the Tokyo Olympics next year and the outcome of this event will surely influence their preparation in the coming months.
Women’s pair (W2-)
Eleven crews are entered in the women’s pair, including the defending champions from Spain, Aina Cid and Virginia Diaz Rivas. This is definitely the pair to beat. But they have some serious challengers.
Romania finished with the silver medal last year, however they have a new-look combination of returning Adriana Ailincai and new partner Iuliana Buhus. Buhus comes out of the 2018 bronze-medal winning Romanian women’s four. Watch out too for the young Greek crew. The Greeks recently finished second at the European Rowing Under 23 Championships. And don’t forget about the Dutch double of Marloes Oldenburg and Carline Bouw. Together the two have a bundle of medals although they haven’t competed much together in the pair.
Men’s pair (M2-)
The men’s pair has drawn an impressive 14 boat entry and includes the defending European Champions, the Sinkovic brothers. But the race is far from a done deal. Back to challenge the Sinkovics are the 2019 silver and bronze medallists from Romania and Spain respectively.
The Romanian combination of Ciprian Tudosa and Marius-Vasile Cozmiuc have had impressive performances at the European level, then found themselves in the B-final at last year’s World Rowing Championships. The Spanish have had more consistent results, with a fifth-place finish last year at the World Championships, enough to qualify them for the Tokyo Olympic Games.
Watch out too for the Italian combination of Giuseppe Vicino and Matteo Lodo. They finished in fourth, ahead of the Spanish, at last year’s World Rowing Championships.
Lightweight men’s double sculls (LM2x)
Over the last few years there have been a handful of crews that land in the top six, the podium, however, has rarely looked the same. At the 2019 European Rowing Championships it was Germany’s Jason Osborne and Jonathan Rommelmann to take the top spot, followed by Italy and Belgium. The World Rowing Championships saw a shake-up with Ireland taking the top spot, Italy in second and the Germans back in third.
The 15 boats entered for Poznan in the lightweight men’s double will be fighting for those top spots. The only notable absence is that of the Irish, but Germany, Italy and Belgium are all in the running. Watch out too for Spain and Denmark, both are frequent A-final finishers.
Lightweight women’s double sculls (LW2x)
The favourites must be the defending European Champions from Belarus, Alena Furman and Anastasiia Ianina. But the Belarussian double have not managed to post consistent results; they finished sixth at last year’s World Rowing Championships. France and Switzerland finished second and third respectively at the 2019 European Rowing Championships and are both back with the same combinations and another year of training.
The Dutch double of Marieke Keijser and Ilse Paulis did not compete at last year’s event due to injury. They then finished second at the World Rowing Championships and are likely to be going for gold in Poznan. And, of course, keep an eye on the Romanian combination of Ionela-Livia Cozmiuc and Gianina-Elena Beleaga. They’ve had some ups and downs, but have a stack of medals in their pocket and if things go their way, they might just add one more.
Women’s quadruple sculls (W4x)
At the 2019 European Rowing Championships, the Germans finished on top, followed by the Netherlands, Ukraine and Poland. This order flipped at the World Rowing Championships, when Poland finished second ahead of the Netherlands and Germany (Ukraine did not compete). All four crews are lining up in Poznan.
Poland has kept their 2019 line-up and are the only crew to do so. Germany made one change from their World Championship crew with Carlotta Nwadije replacing Michaela Staelberg. The Dutch have replaced Sophie Souwer with Laila Youssifou, while Ukraine has a completely new-look crew. These four crews are likely to be in the A-final, the order yet to be determined.
Men’s quadruple sculls (M4x)
There is no question that the Dutch are the crew to beat in Poznan. They have retained their European and World Championship line-up from last year and are ready to race. They are likely, however, to face a big challenge from the Italian crew that finished second at the 2019 European Championships and third at the 2019 World Championships.
Watch out too for Poland. After a disappointing B-final finish at last year’s European Championships, they finished with a silver medal at the World Championships. And don’t forget about Germany. They have one change to their 2019 line-up; the addition of Tim Ole Naske. Naske has become a member of the German men’s sculling squad and shifted into the bigger boats after being knocked out of the men’s single sculls by Oliver Zeidler.
Men’s double sculls (M2x)
The men’s double sculls sees one of the largest entries in Poznan, with 19 crews competing. The Polish men’s sculling team saw significant success in the 2019 season, but they constantly shifted the line-up between the men’s quadruple sculls and men’s double sculls. Miroslaw Zietarski was part of the double that won at the 2019 European Rowing Championships together with Fabian Baranski. Baranski was replaced by Mateusz Biskup for the 2019 World Rowing Championship and the double finished third. Zietarski and Biskup are set to compete in Poznan and, in front of a home crowd, they will be going for gold.
Watch out for the Swiss double of Barnabe Delarze and Roman Roeoesli. They took silver at last year’s European Championships, but finished out of the medals at the World Championships in Linz-Ottensheim. Romania were bronze medallists at the 2019 Europeans and also return with the same line-up to go for the podium. Keep an eye too on the Irish combination of Ronan Byrne and Daire Lynch. Byrne took a surprise silver together with Philip Doyle at the 2019 World Rowing Championships. But with Lynch in for Doyle, will the double be able to reach the podium?
Women’s double sculls (W2x)
This is an impressive field although there has been some slight crew changes that will throw a twist in the racing. The Romanian double has kept their 2019 line-up, which may give them the advantage over the field. They finished second at both the 2019 World and European Rowing Championships.
Germany took the gold at the 2019 European Rowing Championships and have kept Leonie Menzel in the boat. She will now row together with Annekatrin Thiele. Thiele is an extremely experienced sculler with a bucket of medals to her name. The Dutch are back with their line-up of Roos de Jong and Lisa Scheenaard. This duo finished third at the 2019 World Rowing Championships after racing separately much of the season due to injury in the Dutch team. And don’t forget about the French and the Italians. They have both had podium finishes in the last few years and are definitely contenders.
Men’s single sculls (M1x)
This blue riband event has attracted 23 entries and the big European names are back. Of course, all eyes will be on the German Oliver Zeidler. After finding his footing, Zeidler roped in gold at the 2019 World and European Championships. With another year under his belt, can anyone stop him?
There are certainly some great contenders. Norway’s Kjetil Borch is the 2018 World Champion and finished third last year after some ups and downs in the 2019 season. Denmark’s Sverri Nielsen blasted onto the scene in 2018 and finished second at the World Championships. He will certainly challenge for a medal in Poznan.
Keep an eye too on Jakub Podrazil from the Czech Republic. He comes out of the men’s pair and has an impressive time on the indoor rowing machine. If he can translate that power in the single, he might just surprise. And don’t forget about Croatia’s Damir Martin. He has struggled with injury in this Olympiad, but you never know when he might pull off the spectacular.
Women’s single sculls (W1x)
Sanita Puspure came blasting through the ranks in 2018 to claim her first World Championship title. Could she do it again? Yes. Puspure wrapped up her 2019 season with a win at the World Championships after claiming European gold. She is certainly the one to watch heading into Poznan.
Hot on her tails is Switzerland’s Jeannine Gmelin. Gmelin rose in the ranks in 2017 and has been consistently on the podium ever since, including a silver at the 2019 European Championships behind Puspure. Watch out too for Austria’s Magdalena Lobnig who has frequently medalled at the European Championships.
Women’s Four (W4-)
The women’s four has an impressive 12 entries. This boat class has gained significant popularity since it became an Olympic category after the 2016 Olympic Games. As such, the leaders are not set in stone and the podium is not easy to predict. The Dutch are probably the crew to watch in Poznan. They are defending European Champions and finished second at the 2019 World Rowing Championships. They have retained the same line-up and look to be going strong.
Romania was silver medallists at the 2019 European Championships, but they come to Poznan with a completely new-look crew. Watch out too for Poland. They have a small stack of medals in their pockets and will be racing with a home advantage. And don’t forget about Denmark. They set the early standard in the women’s four and have been building ever since.
Men’s four (M4-)
Poland is definitely the crew to beat in the men’s four. They are the reigning World Champions and European silver medallists. They have retained the same line-up and have a home advantage meaning their chance of a podium is exceptionally high.
Watch out too for Romania. They took silver at last year’s World Championships and also return with the same line-up. And keep an eye on Italy. They have had inconsistent results, but their crew has quite a pedigree and they will be looking to medal at the one on-water event of the 2020 season.
Women’s eight (W8+)
This is a four-boat race between Germany, the Netherlands, Romania and Russia. Romania are the defending European Champions and will be looking for a repeat performance. The Dutch crew sees the addition of some young rowers who will be looking to build toward the 2021 season. Russia and Germany have also entered new line-ups, so this straight final will certainly be interesting to watch to get an idea of the 2020 speed.
Men’s eight (M8+)
The Germans are back and will be looking to test their 2020 speed with a few line-up changes compared to the 2019 World Champion crew. Can they maintain their winning streak through this extended Olympiad?
The Dutch will certainly look to challenge after their silver medal finish at the 2019 World Rowing Championships. The rest of the five-boat field is filled by Italy, Lithuania and Romania. On paper, Romania probably has the best chance at the podium, but we’ll have to see what happens in Poznan.
The European Rowing Championships also offers the four Paralympic events. In the PR1 para women’s single sculls all eyes will be on 2019 World silver-medallist Nathalie Benoit of France. Watch out too for Ukraine’s Anna Sheremet and Germany’s Sylvia Pille-Steppat who are both regular A-final finishers.
The PR1 para men’s single sculls sees the return of 2019 World Champion from Ukraine, Roman Polianskyi. Polianskyi is definitely the favorite, but he will face a big challenge from world silver-medallist Alexey Chuvashev from Russia.
The PR2 para mixed double sculls sees the return of the world silver medallists from the Netherlands, Corne de Koning and Annika van der Meer. Watch out too for the French duo of Perle Bouge and Christophe Lavigne. They finished third at the 2019 World Championships and now have had another year of rowing together. Keep an eye too on Ukraine who are regular A-final finishers.
The PR3 para mixed coxed four has a five-boat entry and in the absence of Great Britain, all eyes will be on the Italian crew. Italy finished third at the 2019 World Championships and has kept the same line-up. Watch out too for Russia who finished fifth at the 2019 World Championships.
There are four international events offered at the European Rowing Championships: the lightweight men’s and women’s single and the lightweight men’s and women’s quadruple sculls.
The lightweight men’s single sculls has seen impressive entries, with several names that come out of the lightweight doubles. The Irish have sent World Champion Fintan McCarthy to race in the single in the absence of his double’s partner Paul O’Donovan. Similarly, Norway’s Kristoffer Brun is set to compete in the single. Watch out too for the young Niels Torre from Italy who recently won at the under-23 level and outraced 2019 World Champion in the lightweight men’s single, Martino Goretti, to claim his spot.
There are 11 entries in the lightweight women’s single sculls and it is a young field. Keep an eye on the Dutch Martine Veldhuis, she made it to the final at last year’s World Rowing Championships. Watch out for Switzerland’s Sofia Meakin who boasts a fourth-place finish at the 2019 European Championships.
The lightweight men’s quadruple sculls is a four-boat field and will be a tough one to call. In the absence of an Italian crew, it might be Germany to top the podium. Austria has also put together top teams in this category and the Netherlands comes with a new-look line-up. The lightweight racing will finish up with the lightweight women’s quadruple sculls with a race between Italy and Germany. Italy might have the slight upper-hand on paper. Watch and see.