Benedict Tufnell

Looking Ahead To World Cup II

by Benedict Tufnell

The 2018 World Rowing season moves on to World Rowing Cup II which is being hosted by Linz-Ottensheim in Austria. This World Cup also acts as test event for the 2019 World Rowing Championships that will be hosted at that venue.

Entries for the regatta show an increase in the number of competitors to just under 700, a rise on World Rowing Cup I which took place in Belgrade earlier this month. This partially reflects the interest in competitors wanting to get to know the venue ahead of next year’s World Rowing Championships which also acts as the main qualification event for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

As well as racing in the 14 Olympic boat classes, there will also be racing in four international boat classes and eight para-rowing boat classes. The para PR1 men’s single sculls looks to be hotly contested as the field of 12 includes the Paralympic Champion and gold medallist from World Rowing Cup I, Roman Polianskyi of Ukraine.

A large men’s single sculls field sees the return of 2012 and 2016 Olympic Champion Mahe Drysdale (NZL) to the international scene after a year off from competition. Drysdale will face competition from his fellow team mate and World Best Time holder Robert Manson and from Olympic silver medallist Damir Martin of Croatia.

In the women’s single sculls, World Champion and winner of World Rowing Cup I, Jeannine Gmelin of Switzerland is racing against home favourite and regular medallist Magdalena Lobnig of Austria. There is also Victoria Thornley of Great Britain who took silver at the 2017 World Rowing Championships.

World Champions Grace Prendergast and Kerri Gowler of New Zealand will be the crew to beat in the women’s pair as will their team mates, John Storey and Christopher Harris who are the World Champions in the men’s double sculls. For both of these crews it is their first international race for the 2018 season and they will be accompanied by a 43-member New Zealand team. It is also the first international race of the season for Australia who has brought a team of 45 athletes which includes the World Champion men’s four of Joshua Hicks, Spencer Turrin, Jack Hargreaves and Alexander Hill.

Great Britain is sending the biggest team to the regatta with 65 rowers including winners of World Rowing Cup I, the men’s quadruple sculls. The next biggest team comes from Italy and includes World Champion from the men’s pair, Matteo Lodo with a new crew mate, Vincenzo Abbagnale who has replaced an injured Giuseppe Vicino.

Racing begins on Friday 22 June 2018 at 9:00 CET with heats for the para-rowing boat classes followed by International and Olympic boat classes. In a departure from the normal format, the first round of all events will be raced as time trials. This is to allow athletes and officials a chance to test one of the possible contingency scenarios at the Olympic regatta in 2020.

Racing then progresses through repechages and semifinals to the finals which will be raced over two days – Saturday 23 June in the afternoon and Sunday 24 June starting at 9:35 CET.

There will be live video streaming of the A-finals on both Saturday and Sunday on www.worldrowing.com.

Regatta information can be found at: http://www.worldrowing.com/events/2018-world-rowing-cup-ii/

The World Rowing media guide will be online (from 15/6/18): http://www.worldrowing.com/mediacenter/

The World Rowing Cup series was launched in 1997 and consists of a series of three events. The overall World Rowing Cup winners are determined after the third event. This year, the three stages of the series are Belgrade, SRB (1-3 June), Linz-Ottensheim, AUT (22-24 June) and Lucerne, SUI (13-15 July).

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