PHOTO AND STORY COURTESY WORLD ROWING
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Heats wrapped up at the 2023 World Rowing Championships in Belgrade, Serbia on Tuesday with finalists determined for the first Olympic boat classes and more Paris 2024 Paralympic Games quota places secured.
Racing got off to a fast start with two new World Championship Best Times, and a new World Best Time.
Moran Samuel has been Birgit Skarstein’s PR1 women’s single sculls biggest rival for some time, but she showed how her hard work is paying off with a solid scull in Belgrade. The Israeli came across the line in a World Championship Best Time of 9:56.42. However, the Norwegian Paralympic, World, and European Champion was up next and despite a slower first 1000m than Samuel, Skarstein set another World Championship Best Time of 9:54.08. Both Samuel and Skarstein progressed to the final, and booked their Paris 2024 berths.
After the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, Paralympic champion Lauren Rowles in the PR2 mixed double sculls found herself on the hunt for a new partner, thanks to the retirement of Laurence Whiteley but her new crewmate, Stevenson, has proved more than an able replacement with the pair setting their hird World Best Time of the season. Ireland’s Steven McGowan and Katie O’Brien won the first heat after a superb battle with last year’s silver medallists from Poland. Both Ireland and Great Britain qualified for the final, and also the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.
The eights wrapped up the heats at these Championships, with direct progression to Sunday’s A-Final for some. On the men’s side, Great Britain, Australia, the USA, and the Netherlands took the honours, with the USA and Romania for the women. The other crews will have to race the repechage before racing for the medals.
Olympic dreams put on hold for Repechage crews
While the first Paris 2024 Olympic class finalists kept their quota spots alive, Olympic dreams were put on hold for others.
All eyes were on the second repechage of the lightweight women’s double sculls, where Olympic gold and silver medallists Italy and France were rowing to keep their championships alive after disappointing heat performances. Both crews showed their experience, with Italy leading out before France came through for the win; they were the two qualifying boats from their repechage.The remainder of the crews will head to the C/D Semifinals, and therefore miss out on the top 7 spots in that boat class for a Paris 2024 qualification.
In the men’s four, Poland’s hopes of qualifying for the Olympic Games in Belgrade were dashed after South Africa snatched the third semifinal spot on the line by just 0.02 seconds. Likewise for the German men’s four in the other repechage, falling short to the Danish by 0.24 seconds.
Up next at the 2023 World Rowing Championships.
Racing continues tomorrow, 6 September, with the Repechages, Quarterfinals and the start of minor Finals in certain boat classes. Find the full schedule here.