World Best Times as para finals show stiff competition
Rachel Morris of Great Britain set the standard when she claimed a new World Best Time in the para women's single sculls at the 2016 World Rowing Cup III in Poznan, Poland. This was the first final of the regatta and it was raced in bumpy tail wind conditions.
Para Women's Single Sculls (ASW1x) - Final
In Thursday's heats, Birgit Skarstein of Norway recorded the fastest time when she beat Great Britain's Rachel Morris to the line in a very close battle. Today they lined up again with the added element of the reigning World Champion, Moran Samuel of Israel who won her heat two days ago. Brazil's Claudia Santos got away using the quickest rating of a 51 stroke rate, but it was Skarstein who was the first to find the lead. Skarstein was followed closely by Morris and Samuel. Morris and Samuel went through the middle of the race neck-and-neck and side-by-side. This helped move the chasing boats closer to Skarstein.
Then Samuel dropped her stroke rate and began to slip back. This put the World Champion under pressure from Santos. Meanwhile Morris had taken on Skarstein and not only caught up to her but was matching her stroke for stroke. Morris and Samuel both charged to the line and in a very tight finish, Morris had become the winner. Skarstein crossed in second with Samuel managing to hold on to third. This dual led to a new World Best Time. Morris set it by a whopping six seconds setting the standard at 5:09.
Results: GBR, NOR, ISR, BRA, BLR, RUS
Rachel Morris, Great Britain, gold
“I wasn’t really aware of where I was, so there was only one option – just go for it. It was the first time I really felt like a rower.”
Birgit Skarstein, Norway, silver
“It was really tough racing today because it was very fast paced. I focused fully on making things smooth, but I could really feel my lungs burning at the end.”
Moran Samuel, Israel, bronze
“I felt good during the first 500m, but then something technical changed in my boat, so it was harder for me to pull. But it was a good test here, to test the equipment as well. I could have done better, but I am very happy to see the competition in the boat class. I have great competition. With Rio around the corner, everybody is training and this is very motivating for me to do better.”
At last year's World Rowing Championships, Eleonora De Paolis of Italy finished sixth. This qualified her for the Paralympic Games and she must have been using this race as a build-up to the September Games. De Paolis took off at a 46 stroke rate and got into the lead. She stayed there for the rest of the race despite being pushed hard by Germany's Sylvia Pille-Steppart.
Results: ITA, GER, RUS
Para Men's Single Sculls (ASW1x) - Final
Igor Bondar of Ukraine One went shooting out rating a huge 64 stroke rate at the start. Bondar seemed to be racing against his compatriot, Roman Polianskyi of Ukraine Two. Maybe this was a race to decide the Ukrainian representative at the Paralympic Games. Bondar and Polianskyi went through the middle of the race close together with the World Champion and World Best Time holder, Erik Horrie of Australia, also on the pace. The fight between the Ukrainians moved them away from Horrie with boat Bondar and Polianskyi breaking the former World Best Time. Bondar remained in front to take the gold medal. Polianskyi was in second and Horrie managed third.
Results: UKR1, UKR2, AUS, GBR, BRA, ITA
Igor Bondar, Ukraine, gold
“It was a very close race, so I had to give it my everything. I was completely destroyed at the finish line.”
Roman Polianskyi, Ukraine, silver
“I know I can do even better than this because I had some problems breathing during this race. I think I can take off 3.5 seconds faster.”
Erik Horrie, Australia, bronze
“I am really happy with this result because the Ukrainians raced really well. The Games is what everyone really wants.”
Russia's Vadim Morozov used a 50 stroke per minute pace to get out into the lead at the start. Morozov raced earlier this season at World Rowing Cup I, but he did not make it through to the final. Jaroslaw Kailing of Poland One was right on Morozov's pace. But Morozov's aggressive, but rather chopping stroke style, kept him in the lead. He crossed the line in first, striking a 39 stroke rate.
Results: RUS, POL1, NED, HUN, GER, POL2
Para Mixed Double Sculls (TAMix2x) - Final
The reigning World Champions, Gavin Bellis and Kathryn Ross of Australia got away the quickest to an early lead. They came out rating 49 to get their boat in front. But margins were close and the Netherlands was right on their tail with Brazil in third. Margins remained tight and just two and a half lengths separated the field coming into the 750m mark. This was going to have to be a huge sprint to the end for all competitors.
Then Perle Bouge and Stephane Tardieu of France did an almighty push and moved up on the Australian's Bouge and Tardieu have regularly been pushed out of the top spot over the recent years and they must have decided enough was enough. Bouge and Tardieu had found the lead. Australia tried to hold on, but with just a half second lead, the French won. Australia held on to second and the Netherlands crossed just a second later in third.
Results: FRA, AUS, NED, BRA, POL, UKR
This regatta has seen a bit of a battle going on between Ukraine One and Ukraine Two with Ukraine Two just missing out on making the A-final. Today they made the best of the B-final and got away the quickest to be in the lead and stay there. Ukraine's Dmytro Ivanov and Svitlana Bohuslavski kept an aggressive stroke rate in the low 40s to move further away from the rest of the field. A strong fight between Russia and Israel saw Russia get to the line just in front.
Results: UKR2, RUS, ISR
Para Mixed Coxed Four (LTAMix4+) - Final
South Africa got away with a fast 51 stroke rate. But this did not give them the lead. Instead it was the lower-rating Germany (at 40 strokes per minute) who had the lead. Then Canada did a push and reached the half way point in first. Ukraine was also doing very well and had got into second. Ukraine and Canada have both qualified for the Paralympic Games. Canada did it by finishing third at last year's World Rowing Championships while Ukraine was sixth. Then Canada, coxed by Kristin Kit, really showed their superiority and pushed way from the field. They got to the finish line with an open water lead over South Africa, who had come through into second using an awesome sprint. Ukraine held on to third.
Please note the reigning World Champions, Great Britain had to withdraw at the last minute due to illness.
Results: CAN, RSA, UKR, GER, FRA, ITA
Russia used a lower stroke rate to stay in front of Zimbabwe through the entire race. Russia began on a 34 stroke rate and settled to a 31 with Zimbabwe up in the mid-30s. Zimbabwe has qualified recently for the Paralympic Games through the bipartite invitation, while Russia has not qualified for the Rio Paralympics.
Results: RUS, ZIM