Who to watch at the World Rowing Junior Championships
The 2018 World Rowing Junior Championships continues to grow as more than 750 athletes will compete from 57 nations in Racice, Czech Republic starting Wednesday 8 August.
In 2017, Romania dominated the junior championships, winning six medals. They were followed by Great Britain and the Czech Republic who both won two gold medals. The Czech Republic will certainly be looking to perform well again on home waters.
The junior men’s single sculls has attracted the largest number of entries with 38 rowers entered. This includes the 2017 junior champion, Clark Dean from the United States. Dean will be up against the 2017 silver medallist, Moritz Wolff from Germany. This is Dean’s third junior championships. In 2016, he raced to a bronze medal in the men’s quadruple sculls.
The junior women’s single sculls also sees the return of 2017 junior champion, Ester Briz Zamorano of Spain. Zamorano will compete against 2017 fourth-place finisher Caitlin Govaert of Belgium. Watch out too for Greta Martinelli from Italy. She finished third last year in the women’s quadruple sculls.
Romania grabbed gold in the junior women’s pair last year and they are back this year with a new line-up. Keep an eye on Greece. They took silver last year and Christina Bourmpou is back with a new partner, Maria Kyridou. The duo raced to a fourth-place finish at the under-23 championships in July. They are likely to be challenged by the Lithuanian pair, who finished fourth at the 2017 junior championships.
Croatia had a spectacular race in the junior men’s pair at the 2017 World Rowing Junior Championships and the Loncaric twins are back again. This duo progressed from a b-final finish in the junior men’s eight in 2016 to a gold medal in the junior men’s pair in 2017. They are going up against a relatively new field as none of the other a-finalists from 2017 are entered. However, Romania has historically done well in this boat class and we would expect a good showing from them.
The women’s coxed four has been included on the programme for the first time in order to bring gender equality to the junior championship programme. It will be interesting to see which athletes are featured in both the coxed and straight fours. There are 15 entries in the junior women’s four, but the 2017 champions from Croatia are not on the list. Watch out for Romania. They have one returning member from their silver medal 2017 crew and are strong in women’s sweep rowing. We also expect a good showing from the United States who have historically done well in this boat class.
In the junior men’s four, Great Britain is back with two of the four who won gold at last year’s championships. Competition is likely to come from Romania and New Zealand. Both countries are strong in this boat class, but have new line-ups this year. Watch out too for Germany and Italy, they both have big junior teams and are likely to have fast fours.
The junior women’s double sculls sees many new faces. None of last year’s medallists are returning to the category and very few of the competitors have raced at the international level so far. Keep an eye on Croatia. Both women have raced twice already at the junior championships in different boat classes. If the combination works well, their experience may pay off.
It is a similar situation in the junior men’s double sculls. Spain has one returning member from their sixth-place crew, Andres Alvarez. Keep an eye on Germany as well. Klas Ole Lass finished fourth in the junior men’s quad last year and is pairing up with Paul Krueger.
Romania won the junior women’s quadruple sculls in 2017, but have not entered a line-up in Racice. Germany has kept one of their silver-medal winning rowers, Annabelle Bachmann, to carry forward their 2018 effort. Watch out too for Switzerland. They are back with three of their quad who finished third last year.
Watch out for Switzerland in the junior men’s quadruple sculls. They won in 2017, although they have a new line-up this year. Switzerland will face a challenge from Great Britain who have two remaining members of their silver-medal winning crew.
The Czech Republic will definitely be looking to repeat a win on home water in the junior women’s eight. They haven’t entered very many crews and might be putting their money on the eight. They have two returning members of the 2017 gold medal winning crew. There are five crews entered in the women’s eight and all of them are capable of gold.
Germany reigns supreme in the junior men’s eight. They have kept two rowers and their coxswain from their successful 2017 crew. They will definitely be challenged by the United States and Great Britain, 2017 silver and bronze medallists respectively. With everything to play for these young athletes, this event is definitely not one to miss.