Italy made the most of a home advantage to romp to a one-two-three on the podium in the A finals of the men’s quadruple sculls.
In the women’s double sculls, France dominated the medal podium, with Russian club St. Petersburg sneaking in to second to break up the field. In a closely fought race, French crew Clemence Gourdin and Edwidge Alfred from Etoile Nautique de l’Oise-Creil came out on top, completing the tough racing course in 30.15. Russian scullers Yulia Chagina and Alexandra Fedorova raced to the finish line just seven seconds behind, a small margin over 6km, in 30.22. Aviron Hennebot rowers Dominique Goupil-Parez and Nathalie Rannou completed the medal podium, finishing the race in just over 31 minutes.
Russian sculler Yulia Chagina said “It’s so great. Bari is a beautiful city and the organization has been good. I love coastal rowing!”
The closest race of the morning was the men’s single sculls final. The young Italian sculler Giuseppe Alberti of CUS Pavia won his heat in style, and today in the final made quick work of racing to the head of the field. In just 29.28, he became World Champion in the men’s solo scull, a tough boat to row in rough ocean swell. The real race, however, was on behind him. Coming through the field in second, and continuously pushing Alberti for first place was the Spanish sculler Alberto Extarte Zambrano. Just four seconds behind Alberti, Zambrano finished fast.Over 6km, just 0.3s and a photo finish separated third and fourth: a world champion bronze medal and nothing. At the finish line, the Swedish sculler Peter Berg from Helsingsborg Ruddklub was on the right side of the tiny margin and edged out favourite Simone Martin of Italian club Trieste SC.
The women’s quadruple sculls was always set to be a hotly contested affair. Spanish crew Barcelona Club de Remo had the best of a tactical start, with silver medalists from last year, Switzerland-based club Lausanne Sport not far behind. Favourite from the heats was French club Rowing Club de Marseille, and alongside Chablais Aviron de Thonon (FRA), Lausanne Sport (SUI) and Upper Thames RC (GBR), they were on the hunt for the medals at the halfway marker some distance ahead of the rest of the field. As the finish line loomed, French rivals Thonon took victory in 28.52, and Marseille crossed the line second. However they incurred penalties to their overall time, which allowed 2010 winners Upper Thames Rowing Club (GBR) into second in 29.26 and pushed 2008 champions Lausanne Sport (SUI) into the medals in third position with their time of 29.43.
A broken oar spelled disaster for the Spanish crew in the men’s double who had to abandon racing minutes in after crashing. At the first turning buoy, crews piled on top of each other once again to get the best racing line yet it was Elpis Genova who made a move to the head of the field. The French stranglehold of this event in recent years was broken by the Italian crew Davide Mumola and Leonardo Boccuni who crossed the line in 27.05. Spanish club Real Club Mediterraneo de Malaga won silver in 27.29 and Santostefano of Italy won bronze in 27.44.
The women’s single sculls were the last medals to be decided. Charlo Culty of Société Nautique d'Avigno has two silvers to her name in this event. Was this the year she would take gold? Culty took an early lead and held on to it, racing much of the latter part of the race alone and crossing the line well ahead of the field. Behind her, a second French boat, Diane Dellaleau from Société Nautique de’Lagny, raced hard for third position, whilst Italian sculler Benedetta Bellio of Murcarolo SS took silver.
Bari closed the World Rowing Coastal Championships with a victory ceremony on Saturday evening, where all medals were awarded and athletes could relax and enjoy themselves. Today, crews tested a beach start in an open single, mixed doubles and mixed quadruple sculls. For the beach starts, athletes held their boats in the water. As the crews were started, they had to jump in and immediately begin rowing the 2km course parallel to the shore. Each crew had a ‘runner’, and at the end of the racing stretch, that member had to run from the boat up the beach across the finish line, a tough ask at the end of a flat-out rowing piece! Racing focused on fun and enjoyment, whilst also doubling as test for the starting procedure, which may be used at future coastal events. Organisers deemed the beach races a great success.
For all results of the 2011 World Rowing Coastal Championships, please click here.