YOG qualification sees 101 countries take part
A record 19 countries participated in the Latin American qualification regatta that determined the final countries to partake in the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Nanjing, China.
The final Continental YOG Qualification Regatta was held 15-18 April in Montevideo, Uruguay and the event saw good conditions over the four days of racing. Out of the participating countries five boats earned top spots to qualify for YOG.
Chile won three of the four gold medals, finishing first in the men’s and women’s pair and the women’s single sculls. Brazil’s Uncas Tales Batista took home the gold in the men’s single sculls. Argentina, Paraguay and Cuba also medalled in the single sculls to qualify boats.
The countries that qualified more than one crew now have to choose between the crews as the maximum quota per nation at the YOG is one male and one female boat.
Qualification for the YOG began last year at the 2013 World Rowing Championships in Trakai (LTU). This was followed by the three Continental YOG Qualification Regattas for Africa in Tunis, Tunisia, for Asia in Samarqand, Uzbekistan and for Latin America in Montevideo, Uruguay.
Following the 2013 World Rowing Junior Championships, 28 countries earned spots in the four boat classes that will be raced at the YOG - junior men's single sculls and pairs and junior women's single sculls and pairs. The African, Asian and Latin American Qualification Regattas added 16 more nations and the allocation of universality spots saw six further nations qualify for the YOG rowing. These were allocated by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and went to rowers from four nations (El Salvador, Sri Lanka, Uganda and Togo). Two of the six universality places were re-allocated to Belgium and Croatia, the next placing crews from last year's Junior Worlds in their respective categories.
This takes the total number of participating nations to 101 and qualifying nations to 49. At the inaugural 2010 YOG in Singapore, 45 countries qualified participants.
"We are very proud that 101 nations have taken part in the qualification process," said World Rowing Federation (FISA) development director Thor Nilsen. "In 2010 we had 65 nations that took part, so this is a noteworthy increase."
"Following the first edition in 2010, FISA decided it was important for the sport to take advantage of this opportunity and create a broader means for qualification. This is the reason for the continental qualification system for this 2014 edition of the YOG so to include as many FISA members as possible," said Sheila Stephens Desbans, FISA development manager.
"The universality of this event along with the fact that there is an equal number of women’s and men’s participants is something that FISA believes is very positive for the sport of rowing," said FISA executive director Matt Smith.
To be eligible to row at the YOG athletes must be in the 17-18 year old age group at the time of the Games. A total of 96 rowers will compete over 1,000 metre regatta course at the Games venue of the Nanjing Rowing-Canoeing School.
The YOG was established by the IOC as a way to inspire young people to take up sport, learn about the Olympic values and also to be a platform to create a community between the youth of the world. There are 28 sports at the YOG with rowing an integral part of the Games.
This year's YOG takes place from 16 – 28 August 2014, with the rowing regatta taking place at the beginning of the Games.
For detailed information on qualification here.