PHOTO AND STORY COURTESY WORLD ROWING
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Jarun Lake in Zagreb, Croatia provided stunning conditions for the first World Rowing Cup of the 2023 series which concluded today with Switzerland in a comfortable position at the top of the medal table.
Switzerland’s impressive haul of five gold, two silver and two bronze medals put them significantly ahead of second-placed Spain who achieved two gold, three silver and one bronze. Two golds were also achieved by Czech Republic, in addition to two silver and a bronze.
Spain’s golds came during the first and last of today’s finals. The first came in the women’s pair, when Olympian Aina Cid and her 23-year old pairs partner Esther Briz Zamorano got the fastest start and then led all the way to the finish. In the last race of the day, Spain’s single sculler, Virgina Diaz Rivas, worked her way through the field in impressive style to steal the gold from Switzerland’s 19-year old Aurelia-Maxima Janzen by just 0.02 seconds.
While Switzerland had to settle for silver in the women’s single sculls, they had already made regular appearances on the victory pontoon, including three consecutive golds; the men’s four and both the lightweight men’s and women’s double.
Host nation Croatia claimed a gold and a bronze medal, the gold being in what was the most anticipated race of the regatta amongst the local supporters. Two-time Olympic Champions, Martin and Valent Sinkovic are targeting the double sculls for the Paris Olympic Games, and they have started their campaign well. The Sinkovic brothers overturned their result from last year’s World Rowing Championships when they were beaten by Spain’s Aleix Garcia Pujolar and Rodrigo Conde Romero. Croatia’s other medal had come a day earlier when Dora Dragicevic had sculled to a bronze medal in the lightweight women’s single sculls.
Supporters in the grandstand and at home were treated to close racing with no fewer than four photo finishes during the finals. In the men’s quadruple sculls, the home supporters were left disappointed when Switzerland pushed Croatia out of the medal zone by just 0.05 seconds. The photo finish camera was also in action in the lightweight women’s double sculls, a race in which Switzerland picked up two medals – only 0.37 seconds separated Switzerland 1 and Austria for the gold, whilst Switzerland 2 overcame Spain by 0.03 seconds to take the bronze.
While Switzerland may have been dominant this time round, there will be plenty more nations to challenge them at the next competitions as everything heats up towards the all-important Olympic qualification at this year’s World Rowing Championships.
The 2023 World Rowing Cup Series will continue 16-18 June in Varese, Italy, and conclude 7-9 July in Lucerne, Switzerland.
For race reports, photos, race results and videos go to www.worldrowing.com