PROVIDED BY WORLD ROWING
Going hybrid for the first time ever, the 2023 World Rowing Indoor Championships presented by Concept2, saw more than 1700 athletes competing either virtually or in-person at the Paramount Fine Foods Centre in Mississauga, Toronto, Canada.
The two days of racing had world records falling across a variety of distances and age groups, as well as para rowing and team events. The first-ever World Rowing Versa Challenge saw ten women and eight men compete across two days and four different events.
The 23-39 Men’s 2000m was one of the highlight events, with the two-time defending champion, Ward Lemmelijn of Belgium, competing against Oliver Zeidler of Germany. Zeidler, the reigning World Rowing Champion in the men’s single sculls, won the race in a supersonic time of 5:37.3, well below the magic 5:40 mark, ahead of Lemmelijn and Jakub Podrazil of Czech Republic.
For the 23-39 Women’s 2000m, it was a battle between Sydney Payne and Kasia Gruchalla-Wesierski, the two Canadian Olympic gold medallists, racing in front of their home crowd, versus the “Queen of the Erg”, Olena Buryak. Competing virtually from Kiev, Buryak – who also won the 500m race on Friday – left no doubt that she was still unbeatable on the indoor rowing machine, winning another World Rowing Indoor Champioship title ahead of Gruchalla-Wesierski and Payne.
Friday, the Open Men’s 500 m category saw three-time World Rowing Indoor Champion, Phil Clapp of Great Britain securing a fourth consecutive gold medal in this event. Clapp scored a time of 1:11.2 and held off a late surge from Cameron Wharram from Canada who, despite the support of the home crowd, fell short by 0.1 seconds. Matt Snare from the United States finished third.
The first-ever World Rowing Versa Challenge tested the skills and strengths off all ten women and eight men competing, to crown the most versatile indoor rowers in the world. After an intense battle over two days, in a format that got the crowd entertained and cheering for each of the four challenges, Joel Naukkarinen of Finland and Elizabeth Gilmore of the United States were crowned World Rowing Versa Challenge champions.
In total, six World Records were broken at the 2023 World Rowing Indoor Championships – with the most impressive being Andrew Benko of the United States, who won both the 500m and 2000m in the Men 55-59 age category and breaking his own World Record in the long distance.
The timing and results software was produced and operated by race management company Time Team of the Netherlands. World Rowing Productions of Munich, Germany brought all of the elements together to create the live stream broadcast.
The 2024 World Rowing Indoor Championships will take place in Prague, Czech Republic.
Rewatch the racing here.
Complete results here.