PHOTO AND STORY COURTESY WORLD ROWING
In a series of epic races, the first medals of the 2023 European Rowing Championships were awarded on Lake Bled, Slovenia, with more set to be awarded on Sunday.
The Romanian National anthem was the first to be heard as their women’s four overhauled a very strong British crew in the closing stages, the crew containing double Olympic Champion Helen Glover. The Romanian women will all be racing again in the women’s eight tomorrow.
Three consecutive para boat classes followed, starting with the PR1 men’s single sculls, where the result of last year’s World Rowing Championships was reversed – Italy’s Giacomo Perini beat Ukraine’s Paralympic champion Roman Polianskyi. It was yet another gold for Norway’s Birgit Skarstein in the PR1 women’s single sculls, as she defended her title of European Champion. Meanwhile, France took gold in the PR3 mixed double sculls, which was raced for the first time at the European Championships.
It was gold for Ukraine in the women’s quadruple sculls, while in the men’s event, the reigning World Champions from Poland bettered their European silver medal from last year when they held off a challenge from a strong Dutch crew which included two reigning Olympic Champions in this boat class.
The British duo of Emily Craig and Imogen Grant continued their dominance in the lightweight women’s double sculls. They have been unbeaten since their fourth place in Tokyo and looked very impressive today, finishing with clear water ahead of strong boats from Greece and France. The lightweight men’s double sculls saw victory for Jan Schaeuble and Raphael Ahumada Ireland of Switzerland, repeating their success at the World Rowing Cup I just a few weeks ago.
The excitement had built through the afternoon but it peaked in the men’s eight. Great Britain had come in as favourites and led off the start, but Romania was not going to let them get away and mounted the pressure in the closing stages. It went to a photo finish with Great Britain eventually being declared as European Champions by just 0.05 seconds.
The final day of the 2023 European Rowing Championships will start at 09:15 CET with D-finals and C-finals. B-finals (places 7-12) will begin at 09:40 CET before A-Finals start at 10:51. Tomorrow’s programme will include the men’s four, the women’s and men’s single and lightweight single sculls, women’s and men’s double sculls, women’s and men’s pair, the PR2 Mixed Double Sculls and PR3 Mixed Coxed Four and conclude with the women’s eight at 13:41.
You can find the full programme on worldrowing.com.