Who to watch: 2020 European Rowing Under 23 Championships
The first European Rowing event of the 2020 season is about to get underway in Duisburg, Germany. The 2020 European Rowing Under 23 Championships has attracted a record number of entries across 22 boat classes.
The under-23 events are a development pathway for younger athletes on their way to the senior level. There are 14 Olympic and eight International boat classes offered. Racing will be live streamed on www.worldrowing.com and here’s a sneak preview of what may happen in each of the boat classes.
Women’s single sculls (BW1x)
In the under-23 women’s single sculls the reigning champion Anneta Kyridou from Greece is set to compete. Last year Kyridou won ahead of her home crowd at the event taking place in Ioannina, Greece. But this year she will compete in front of a German crowd with a host of new challengers. Alexandra Foester from Germany is the reigning world junior champion and will likely put up the biggest challenge. Keep an eye too on Italy’s Elisa Mondelli, she finished fifth last year in Ioannina.
Men’s single sculls (BM1x)
The men’s single sculls sees defending champion Ronan Byrne from Ireland go up against fourth-place finisher from last year Mihai Chiruta of Romania. But all eyes will have to be on Byrne as he also won silver in the men’s senior double sculls at last year’s World Rowing Championships. Keep an eye too on Germany’s Moritz Wolff. Wolff finished second in the under-23 men’s quad at the 2019 World Rowing Under 23 Championships and to land the spot in the German men’s single meant he had to be faster than the rest of his team – no easy feat.
Men’s pair (BM2-)
Romania often dominates in this boat class, especially at the junior and under-23 level. Florin-Sorin Lehaci and Dumitru-Alexandru Ciobica are defending champions from both the 2019 World and European under-23 events. Greece and Lithuania were silver and bronze medallists respectively in 2019, but they both have new crews lining up. Keep an eye too on Croatia’s Loncaric brothers. They’ve had mixed results in the last years, but have experience together in the pair, which is always an advantage.
Women’s pair (BW2-)
There’s no doubt about it, the Greek women’s pair definitely has a target on their back. They are reigning European and World Under-23 Champions and have been rowing together for many years. Keep an eye on Romania too, they have one returner from their bronze medallist crew from the 2019 European Rowing Under 23 Championships. And Italy typically performs well in this boat class, so their new young pair might just challenge for a top spot.
Women’s double sculls (BW2x)
The women’s double sculls is definitely going to be a boat class to watch. There are many experienced rowers in the field, including several lightweight rowers that have entered in the open-weight category. Romania are the defending champions from the European event last year. Italy has put bronze medallist from last year’s World Under-23 women’s single, Clara Guerra together with a new partner Alessandra Montesano. Greece are defending champions from the 2019 World Rowing Under 23 Championships, but have entered a new-look crew. And keep an eye on Germany. Their double includes Maria-Sophie Zeidler, the youngest in the Zeidler rowing family.
Men’s double sculls (BM2x)
With one of the largest entries at the event, the men’s double sculls will also not disappoint. The world under-23 bronze medallists from Russia will take on a top field, including the defending European under-23 gold and silver medallists from Belarus and Bulgaria respectively. Belarus’ Ivan Brynza is also the 2019 World Rowing Junior Champion and has partnered up with Yahor Shliupski. Keep an eye too on Germany, they have the home advantage and have a new combination of 2019 world junior silver medallist Paul Krueger together with Klas Ole Lass.
Women’s four (BW4-)
The under-23 women’s four has become a development pathway for the Olympics and in the last few years the entries and the level have improved. Romania is typically strong in women’s sweep rowing and they return with one member of their 2019 European Under-23 Champion crew. Russia finished in the bronze medal position and will likely challenge for a medal again in Duisburg. Keep an eye too on Spain, they often finish at the top of the pack.
Men’s four (BM4-)
There are an even ten entries in the men’s four and Romania is definitely in the running for a medal. They finished first at last year’s event ahead of Croatia. But Croatia has taken two of their rowers out to compete in the men’s pair. That leaves bronze medallists from Switzerland with a chance. Switzerland returns with two of the four that competed last year. Keep an eye too on Germany and on Greece. They have put together some top-level boats with young athletes.
Lightweight women’s double sculls (BLW2x)
With just four entries, the lightweight women’s double sculls will see a race for lanes and a final. Yet all four entries are strong, so expect the racing to be tight. Switzerland’s Chiari Cantoni and Olivia Nacht are defending champions and will look to retain their title.
Lightweight men’s double sculls (BLM2x)
The lightweight men’s double saw a slightly larger entry and boasts some top names at the under-23 level. The Greeks are defending champions, but they have entered a new line-up this year of Petros Theodoridis and Stavros Soularikas. Likely to challenge for a top spot are France’s Paul Tixier and Ferdinand Ludwig. They finished with silver at the 2019 European Rowing Under 23 Championships. Keep an eye on the Dutch combination of Obbe Durk Tibben and David van Velden, Tibben finished with silver in the lightweight men’s single sculls at the 2019 World Rowing Under 23 Championships.
Women’s quadruple sculls (BW4x)
With nine entries, the women’s quadruple sculls has an impressive mix of top athletes from the 2019 World and European Under-23 Championships. Defending European Champions is the crew from Romania with only one remaining member entered in Duisburg. Germany sees two remaining members of the line-up that finished second at the 2019 World Rowing Under 23 Championships and Switzerland has also maintained part of their crew that finished fourth at the world-level, but third at the Europeans.
Men’s quadruple sculls (BM4x)
All eyes will be on the reigning European Under-23 Champions from Belarus. They have maintained the winning line-up from last year’s event and have added another year of training. They are likely to be challenged by the new-look crew from Germany. Germany finished second at the 2019 World Rowing Under 23 Championships, but have only one remaining crew member: Franz Werner. Keep an eye too on Italy, they are bronze medallists from the 2019 world under-23s.
Women’s eight (BW8+)
At the European level Romania has dominated in the women’s eights and they are likely to be contenders for a top spot in Duisburg. But the Dutch are defending world under-23 champions and may just be able to get the better of them. Keep an eye too on Germany and the Czech Republic, they often finish in the top in the women’s eight.
Men’s eight (BM8+)
The top contenders in the men’s eight follow a similar pattern to the women’s eight. Romania are defending European Champions, but the Dutch finished third at the 2019 World Rowing Under 23 Championships. Germany is also likely to put up a fight and don’t forget about Poland, they often pull their weight in the final.
The entries were also impressive in the eight international events. In the coxed women’s and men’s four the defending gold and silver medallists are Romania and Belarus. They will go up against new challengers in Duisburg, including a young Irish crew on the men’s side.
There are three lightweight categories for both men and women with the biggest entries in the lightweight singles. On the women’s side, keep an eye on Lara Tiefenthaler from Austria, she finished third at last years’ World Rowing Under 23 Championships. And watch out for Greta Martinelli from Italy, she was part of the senior-level World Championship lightweight women’s quad in 2019.
In the lightweight men’s single sculls, the defending European Champion Jan Cincibuch of the Czech Republic will go up against Italy’s Niels Torre. Torre finished second in the lightweight men’s double sculls at last years’ World Rowing Under 23 Championships.
The lightweight women’s pair sees the return of defending champions Maryia Daumatovich and Tatsiana Hancharova from Belarus. They will go up against Italy, who have one remaining member of their 2019 World Rowing Under 23 Champion crew. The lightweight men’s pair sees almost a brand-new field of athletes. Keep an eye on Hungary, Italy and Germany, they all have a history of doing well in this category.
The lightweight men’s and women’s quadruple sculls top off the entries. On the women’s side, the home favorite of Germany might just have the upper-hand. But keep an eye on Italy too. In the men’s races, Italy has historically been the one to beat, but a young Irish crew might just find the speed to finish at the top.