Rowers had five days (7-11 March) to complete their best 1000m sprint on the Concept2 indoor rowing machine and submit it via the Concept2 logbook. The United States had the most participants with an impressive 1869. But the real surprise was more than 500 participants from the small island of Tahiti in French Polynesia, which has a population of less than 200,000 people.

Tahiti was among several countries that hosted physical events to encourage participation in this virtual endeavour. The Tahitian event took place from 9 to 11 March and was orchestrated by French rower and indoor rowing enthusiast Kevin Scott.

“The World Rowing Virtual Indoor Sprints, for the local club (Le Cap Marara Tahiti), is an excellent opportunity,” says Scott. “Our development goals are based heavily on indoor rowing, which allows us to reach all different types of people throughout the entire year to ensure good promotion of our sport and its values.”

Scott, along with help from the local rowing clubs and support from the Tahitian government, managed over three days to put 503 participants, ranging from 9 to 80 years old, on only 12 Concept2 rowing machines.

2018 World Rowing Virtual Indoor Sprints, Tahiti © FISA

 

“We estimate that half of the participants rowed for the first time at this event, that 150 of them are regularly training and that the rest had participated in other similar events (we organise on average three per year). The Sprints is an opportunity to extend our practices and reach, by giving rowers the chance to participate in an organised event through a virtual format. This event offers participants the possibility to gauge their level compared to France and the rest of the world in their own age categories, gender categories and weight categories. And it gives people an opportunity to compete against each other,” Scott says.

Worldwide, the fastest of all the participants was Derek Peterson from Austin, Texas, United States. Peterson raced in the men’s openweight category and completed the 1000 metres in an astonishing 2:43.5. The Texas highway patrol sgt was also the fastest in 2017. Finishing just behind Peterson was Ivan Saric from Germany in a time of 2:45.7 and Justin Farina from Canada in 2:47.9.

Taking home the gold medal in the women’s openweight category is Helen Pearce from Great Britain with a time of 3:16.1, while Anna Muhle from Germany finishes in second with a time of 3:17.3 and Jordan Falcone from the United States with 3:19.6.

The lightweight women saw a winner from the United States, Heather Kenton in a time of 3:28.2. Joining her on the virtual podium are Sophia Lewis (USA) and Anna Ioannou (CYP). On the men’s side, Sergio Perez Moreno from Spain grabbed the gold medal in a time of 3:01.4, just 0.4 seconds ahead of Muzamil Shahzad from Pakistan. Another Cyprian, Aristotelis Ioannou finished in third.

"It's great to see the continued growth of the Virtual Indoor Sprints, especially around the world. The feedback we've received has shown that people really like how truly global it is, and it's been fun seeing the results come in from places like Armenia, Pakistan and Colombia. A special mention should go out to French Polynesia, where Kevin Scott did a great job in getting over 500 people to row, making them the second biggest country taking part,” says Alex Dunne, Concept2 indoor race team.

Out of the 5300 competitors the biggest age category was 40-49 with more than 1000 entries. However, juniors were well represented with 845 entries in the 13-18 age class. Para-rowing events took place in several countries with more than 100 total para-rowing entries.

For the full results, click here

To learn more about the event, click here

The dates for the 2019 event will be announced soon. Please stay tuned and get #ready2row.