PHOTO AND STORY COURTESY WORLD ROWING
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The strongest field since the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games will come together in Belgrade, Serbia next week for the 2023 World Rowing Championships, with qualification spots for the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games on the line.
To be held from 3 to 10 September, the 2023 World Rowing Championships has attracted nearly 1000 athletes from 74 delegations.
Of the Olympic boat classes the men’s single sculls stands out with the largest number of entries, coming from 48 nations. This includes Olympic qualification favourites Denmark’s Sverri Nielsen, Greece’s Stefanos Ntouskos, New Zealand’s Tom Mackintosh and reigning World Champion Oliver Zeidler of Germany.
The women’s single sculls is well represented with 32 nations entered. The home crowd will be cheering for Jovana Arsic of Serbia who will be up against reigning World Champion Karolien Florijn of the Netherlands and reigning Olympic Champion, New Zealand’s Emma Twigg.
The men’s double sculls has 30 entries and all eyes will be on the Sinkovic Brothers of Croatia. The brothers are trying to qualify for their fourth Olympic Games in the boat class where they won an Olympic gold medal in 2016. Facing the Sinkovics will be the Tokyo silver medallists from the Netherlands, Stef Broenink and Melvin Twellaar, and recent World Cup winner from Italy, Matteo Sartori and Luca Rambaldi.
Competition will be fierce for para rowers too. The PR1 men’s single had 23 entries and sees the returns of Erik Horrie of Australia and Ben Pritchard of Great Britain. They will face Olympic and World Champion Roman Polianskyi of Ukraine and up-and-comer Giacomo Perini of Italy. The PR3 mixed double sculls, set to make its debut at the Paralympics next year, has 14 entries with five of the six A-Finalists from last year’s World Championships returning to the action.
Hoping to go for Olympics number six is 44-year-old Tonu Endrekson of Estonia. He is competing in the men’s quadruple sculls. Defying age and hoping to qualify for the Paralympic Games is Alejandro Magno Vera of Argentina, competing in the PR1 men’s single sculls at age 59.
Of the countries entered, Italy is sending the biggest team with entries in 24 boat classes. This is just ahead of the United States, entered in 22 boat classes. Host nation Serbia will be entered in five boat classes and hoping to qualify four boats for the Olympics in front of their home fans.
Racing will begin on Sunday, 3 September with heats and progress through to repechages, quarterfinals, semifinals, and A-Finals starting on Friday, 8 September. All races will be livestreamed on worldrowing.com (local restrictions apply).
Olympic qualification information here
Paralympic qualification information here
The World Rowing media guide will be online (from 25/08/23): www.worldrowing.com/mediacentre