World Rowing Champs continue in perfect conditions
On the second day of the World Rowing Championships in Munich, Germany, there was barely a breath of wind and temperatures remained comfortably in the mid 20 degrees Celsius.
Today’s races included the heats in all events that make up Group B of the World Rowing Championships. It included Finland stepping up a notch in the lightweight women’s double. It saw China looking better in the lightweight men’s double. It had the Egyptians score highly in the lightweight men’s four. And saw the United States not dominating the men’s or the women’s eight. Instead it showed the comeback of Olympic Champions Romania in the women’s eight.
(b) and Daniel Harte (s) of Great Britain compete at the 2007 World Rowing Championships in Munich, Germany." border="0" src="/medias/images/media_353680.jpg" title=" © 2007 Getty Images" width="250">Lightweight Men’s Pair (LM2-) - Heats
A first place finish was necessary for the direct way to the final in each of these two heats. Opening up today’s races was favourite for this event, Andrea Caianiello and Armando Dell’Aquila of Italy. The duo already have Rowing World Cup gold from this year and also won the Under 23s last month. The duo took to the lead and held off the Kuehner twins from Germany. With the Kuehners buttoning off in the close of the race, Caianiello and Dell’Aquila finished with an open water lead.
Making the trip all the way from Australia, Ross Brown and Michael McBryde showed that the travel was worth it by leading the way in heat two. Great Britain did their best to push into the qualifying spot but had given too much away through the centre of the race to pull Brown and McBryde back in. Brown and McBryde will be in the final.
(b), Myint Myint Oo, Shwe Zin Latt and Myint Myint Htwe (s) competing at the 2007 World Rowing Championships in Munich, Germany." border="0" src="/medias/images/media_353716.jpg" title=" © Simon Lorenz" width="250">Lightweight Women’s Quadruple Sculls (LW4x) - Heats
Two heats with a total of eight boats meant a first place finish allowed a number of rest days and a direct path to Sunday’s final. Australia decided it was theirs in heat one. Bronwen Watson, Miranda Bennett, Alice McNamara and Tara Kelly of Australia are racing internationally for the first time this season and they must have been doing the right training as they easily held off reigning World Champions China in second. China also hold the World Best Time after a blistering performance in Eton last year. But they will have to step up through the repechages this year. Australia move on to the final.
A head-to-head battle between the United States and Great Britain moved these two crews away from the rest of the field in heat two. Great Britain, stroked by Jane Hall, took off at a blazing 49 strokes per minute, then settling into a 36 rhythm with the United States – full of newcomers to the international scene – using a 34 stroke rate to hold on to the British. Great Britain remained in the lead but the United States pushed until the end. Great Britain go to the final.
Lightweight Men’s Quadruple Sculls (LM4x) - Heats
Sitting in the stroke pair of France’s entry, Fabien Dufour and Maxime Goisset come to Munich holding the 2007 Under 23 Champion title from the lightweight double. This must have put the crew in good stead as they led the first of two heats. Germany tried their best to overtake the French, but France looked to have more power per stroke. France go directly to the final and Germany will get another race in the repechage.
Heat two included current World Champions Italy who have boosted their crew by adding Olympic medallist and World Champion in the lightweight double, Leonardo Pettinari to the bow. Despite his significant pedigree Pettinari has not been having such a good rowing career ever since splitting with doubles partner Elia Luini. He has been swapping and changing between different boats for the last two seasons and will not be happy being in a non-Olympic boat class. Great Britain put up a good battle against such a medalled crew, but Italy held them off. Winning heat two means the Italians only have one race left as they go directly to the final.
Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls (LW2x) - Heats
Crammed into three heats are 18 nations all hoping to qualify for the Olympic Games, some hoping to be 2007 World Champions. Heat one contained current World Champions but in a different configuration. China’s Dongxiang Xu has a new partner, Haixia Chen and together they took the lead. But no one was going to be intimidated by the Chinese. Going through the half-way mark Poland and Japan were still within striking distance. Then in the second half of the race Finland’s Sanna Sten and Minna Nieminen began to pour on the pressure. Finland has not qualified for the Olympics in rowing for a number of years and in 2004 Nieminen and Sten missed out by just one heartbreaking position. The duo certainly have this on their mind.
In a photo finish Nieminen and Sten piped the Chinese but with two boats advancing to the semifinal, at this stage it is purely academic.
Heat two opened with Greece and Canada going head to head with Canada claiming the edge through the middle of the race. Chrysi Biskitzi and Alexandra Tsiavou of Greece fought back to reclaim the lead with Katrin Olsen and Juliane Rasmussen of Denmark, winners of the third Rowing World Cup, taking chase. In the closing 500m Canada couldn’t quite get their sprint up to speed and Greece and Denmark will advance to the semifinal.
Australia’s Amber Halliday and Marguerite Houston shot out at the start of heat three ahead of Germany’s Berit Carow and Marie-Louise Draeger. Halliday and Houston finished second last year but started this season off slowly with a B Final finish. Today they look to be back on form but the rest of the field were hard on their heels. Germany especially felt the pressure from Italy and then Great Britain. At the line Halliday and Houston qualify with reasonable comfort while Carow and Draeger had to do an all-out sprint to hold off Great Britain in a photo finish.
Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls (LM2x) - Heats
The large, 29-country field meant rowers would have to race through the quarterfinals. Originally 30 countries entered but Chile pulled out at the last minute. They will now have to try Olympic qualification through the Latin American qualification regatta later this year. One boat in each of the six heats would miss out on the quarterfinals and in heat one it was Switzerland at the back of the field. Meanwhile Turkey, Japan, Germany and Australia held on to each other’s pace with Sam Beltz and Tom Gibson of Australia holding the leading edge. Coming into the final sprint Beltz and Gibson were still in front with Germany and Japan closing hard, while Turkey looked content just to qualify. These four boats go to the quarterfinal in the fastest heat.
Great Britain’s Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter have been coming along in leaps and bounds this season with World Cup silver medals already in their ownership. Together they led heat two with the United States and New Zealand following closely behind. As Spain dropped off the pace, Great Britain, the United States and New Zealand were able to qualify comfortably.
At the 2004 Athens Olympics Vasileios Polymeros of Greece won bronze in this event with his former partner. He became the first Greek to win an Olympic medal in rowing. Polymeros is back with new partner, Dimitrios Mougios hoping to repeat the Athens performance in Beijing next year. Today the duo led heat three over 2004 Olympic Champions, Tomasz Kucharski and Robert Sycz of Poland. But the race was like a procession and no one challenged the Greek’s leading position. Greece, Poland, Slovakia and Uruguay go to the quarterfinal.
In heat four, Zsolt Hirling and Tamas Varga of Hungary showed that they are back in action. After becoming World Champions in 2005 the duo had a reasonably lacklustre 2006. At the final Rowing World Cup this season Hirling and Varga finished second and they look like the 2005 speed is back. The Hungarians stayed ahead of Belgium who remained overlapping and easily within attacking distance up until the final sprint when the Czech Republic pushed past. Hungary, the Czechs, Belgium and Canada in fourth all move on to the quarterfinal.
Frederic Dufour of France finished second at the Athens Olympics and decided it wasn’t good enough. Dufour, with new partner Fabrice Moreau, is going after Beijing Olympic gold and they began their quest today by leading heat five. But Italy did not want them to have it easily and took up chase in second place. The pace remained hot, the French remained in the lead, Italy held on to second and Austria and Portugal also qualify for the quarterfinal.
The current World Champions and World Best Time holders, Mads Rasmussen and Rasmus Quist of Denmark had to wait until heat six to show what they are capable of. They led the field but did not dominate with Guolin Zhang and Jie Sun of China attacking. This is a big improvement for Zhang and Sun who raced the B Final at the second Rowing World Cup this year. To stay overlapping with the Danes is a huge accomplishment and must give the Chinese a big confidence boost. Denmark, China, Cuba and Russia move on to the quarterfinal.
Lightweight Men’s Four (LM4-) - Heats
Like the lightweight men’s double, the large number of countries entered in this event meant that crews would have to race quarterfinals. Thus, in each of these six heats, the crew coming last would miss out and have to race a lesser final. China are the reigning World Champions and they showed that they remain on form by leading heat one. After shaking off Greece at the start, China got an open water lead through the middle of the race with only Ukraine showing any hint of a challenge. At the line China, Ukraine, Greece and Indonesia earn a spot in the semifinal.
The speedy start of the Egyptians paid off in heat two with Abou Deif Abd El Razek, Hossam Azouz, Ahmed Gad and Amin Amin leading the field. This is the same crew that won a Rowing World Cup bronze medal last year but they have not reached medal heights since. Behind them the Netherlands and Russia were neck and neck with the Czech Republic back in fourth. The order did not change and these four boats advance to the semifinal. Unlucky Austria, at the back of the field are out of Olympic qualification.
A fast start by Italy in heat three was soon swallowed up by Australia who seem to have new-found vigour. In the middle of the boat, Ben Cureton and Anthony Edwards won silver at the Athens Olympics in this event and are back to improve on this medal colour. They shook off Italy at the start, but even with just 500m left to row the margins between Italy, Ireland (now in second) and Australia remained small. Australia, Ireland, Italy and Spain advance to the quarterfinal. Portugal, who got to the start line late, delaying the race, finished at the back.
Denmark used to own this event and with the return of Olympic Champion Eskild Ebbesen to the boat, they are hoping to own it again. But in heat four it was Canada and Poland ahead of the Danes. Canada, stroked by Daniel Parsons, led the field and managed to open out enough of a lead that they could keep an eye on Poland in second. At the line Canada, Poland and Denmark will move to the quarterfinal.
It was not surprising to see Great Britain in the lead of heat five. The British, despite being in their first season together under the guidance of coach Robin Williams, have been improving with every race this season. They held off Germany in second with Japan having the fight against South Africa to earn the qualifying spot. Great Britain, Germany and Japan go to the quarterfinal while a very disappointed South Africa miss out on their Olympic qualification hopes.
France became World Champions in 2005 and they still retain 2000 Olympic Champion, Jean-Christophe Bette in the boat. Today they led heat six over a newly constituted United States blend. Despite being in qualifying position, the US pushed France to the line. France, United States and Serbia will race again in the quarterfinal.
(b), Nataliya Huba, Olena Olefirenko and Yana Dementieva (s) competing at the 2007 World Rowing Championships in Munich, Germany." border="0" src="/medias/images/media_353743.jpg" title=" © Simon Lorenz" width="250">Women’s Quadruple Sculls (W4x) - Heats
China surprised many by beating World Champions Great Britain at the second Rowing World Cup this season. Showing that it wasn’t an oddity, China, stroked by Guixin Feng in her third international season, led the way in heat one to take the one and only qualifying spot. The Chinese settled into a 34 stroke rate for the body of the race, enough to hold off any challenges. China moves directly to the final with all other crews having to return for the repechage.
The World Champions Great Britain have had a reshuffle. Katherine Grainger has been taken out of her usual spot in stroke and moved back to the bow with coach Paul Thompson putting newcomer to the crew, Annie Vernon into stroke. There must be something to Thompson’s methods as the crew took the lead in heat two over the United States. They then held off Germany who challenged the Brits right to the line. Coming into the final sprint Germany underrated Great Britain by one beat but still managed to close the gap. But the German’s weren’t close enough. Great Britain are the sole qualifiers for the final. All other boats will have to give it another go through the repechage.
(b), Marek Kolbowicz, Michal Jelinski and Adam Korol (s) competing at the 2007 World Rowing Championships in Munich, Germany." border="0" src="/medias/images/media_353746.jpg" title=" © Simon Lorenz" width="250">Men’s Quadruple Sculls (M4x) - Heats
They haven’t lost a race since becoming World Champions in 2005. They are the 2006 World Rowing Team of the Year and they hold the World Best Time. They are Poland and they fronted up in heat one of four heats. Two boats would qualify for the semifinal and Poland would be one of them. Behind Poland Estonia had to break free from the fast starting Romanians to find second. Canada challenged, but then gave it away in the second half of the race. Poland and Estonia advance to the semifinal.
Robert Sens of Germany has been racing internationally since 1995. He strokes the quad that includes last year’s junior single Champion Hans Gruhne and last year’s under 23 single champion Karsten Brodowski. The mix of youthful speed and experience must be working. Germany led heat two over a very accomplished French line-up. The order did not change and Germany and France move on to the semifinal and one step closer to Olympic qualification.
Heat three featured a full-on battle between the Czech Republic and Ukraine. The Czechs come to this event having finished fifth last year. Ukraine finished second. Today the Czech Republic had the edge but Ukraine challenged for the whole 2000m Munich course. Throwing down a closing 250m sprint Ukraine nearly caught the Czech Republic – both boats qualify for the semifinal.
Russia are the 2004 Olympic Champions. Italy are the 2000 Olympic Champions. Both have new members in their boats. Both crews met in heat four. Both boats wanted to finish first. Russia took the early lead starting much faster than Italy who has 2000 Olympic Champion Simone Raineri in stroke. Russia led for the majority of the race before Italy pulled out the bigger sprint. Both boats go on to the semifinal.
(b), Lindsay Shoop, Anna Goodale, Samantha Magee, Anna Mickelson, Tzuzsanna Francia, Caroline Lind, Caryn Davies (s) and Mary Whipple (c) competes during the 2007 World Rowing Championships in Munich, Germany." border="0" src="/medias/images/media_353668.jpg" title=" © 2007 Getty Images" width="250">Women’s Eight (W8+) - Heats
Germany may be on their home course and they may have picked up two silvers and a gold this season, but Romania is back. The Olympic Champions Romania seem to always bring their best out of retirement when the Olympic cycle comes round. Doina Ignat is back in stroke seat and is supported by Georgeta Andrunache and Viorica Susanu. They are all out of retirement this year. In heat one Germany took off in the lead but could do nothing to hold off the second half attack by Romania. Rating 37 Romania rowed through Germany to take first and the only qualifying spot. Romania goes directly to the final.
At the head of the field in heat two the United States held the leading edge. Stroked by the lofty Caryn Davies, the United States are the reigning World Champions and also hold the World Best Time. But today was Australia’s day. Australia remained within striking distance and in the last 500m Australia struck. The United States upped their rating to 37 then 39 but Australia had the better race on the day and take the only qualifying spot. All other boats will return for the repechage.
(b), Matthew Ryan, Jeremy Stevenson, Tom Laurich, Sam Conrad, Cameron McKenzie Mcharg, Karsten Forsterling (s) and Marty Rabjohns (c) competing at the 2007 World Rowing Championships in Munich, Germany." border="0" src="/medias/images/media_353667.jpg" title=" © 2007 Getty Images" width="250">Men’s Eight (M8+) - Heats
There are 16 countries aiming for seven Olympic qualifying spots here at Munich. Today they were split into three heats and they needed a top two finish for advancement to the semifinal. Reigning World Champions Germany, on their home course, are a powerful combination. In heat one Germany tried to establish their dominance. But the United States and the Netherlands were having none of it. The US left the start with Germany and remained overlapping. Even coming through the 1500m mark there was very little between these two crews. But then the Netherlands charged. The Dutch had started extremely slowly at the back of the field and had been working their way forward under the encouragement of Niels van den Bovenkamp in the coxswain seat.
Moving their stroke rate up to 41 then 43, the Dutch went after the United States and Germany. The US responded, maybe a touch too late. The Netherlands got their bow ball in front of the Americans and closed on Germany. In a photo finish Germany retained first to the delight of the swelling crowd. The Netherlands qualifies from second. The United States will have to return for the repechage.
Canada have been the most successful eight this season with two World Cup golds from two regattas. In heat two they were looking hot again and edged out to a lead over Great Britain. As the race progressed Canada increased that lead. But then Australia started to wind up from a relatively slow middle 1000. Australia has moved the legendary James Tomkins into stroke seat after doing nothing remarkable so far this season. Great Britain were under threat. A better sprint by Australia brought the crew in front of Great Britain and into the qualifying position. Canada holds on to first and Australia takes second.
China showed what they are now capable of doing when they raced to silver at the second Rowing World Cup. Today they raced in heat three and held tightly onto leaders Russia. Everything looked set for the two qualifying boats when Switzerland decided to get in on the action. Increasing their stroke rate in the close of the race Switzerland charged. But they had left it just a little too late. Russia held on to first and China stayed just a smidgen ahead of Switzerland to also qualify. The Swiss will have to race the repechage.