Nearly 500 athletes from 27 countries are set to compete this weekend in Hong Kong at the 2019 World Rowing Coastal Championships, reportedly the largest World Rowing Coastal Championships ever held outside of Europe.
Coastal rowing has steadily grown in popularity in recent years and has come further under the spotlight since FISA stated last year that it is seriously considering petitioning the International Olympic Committee to include Coastal rowing as an exhibition sport for Paris 2024.
Racing begins Friday 1st November and concludes the following sunday. There will be a full television production of the A-finals that can be watched online at www.worldrowing.com
World Rowing has published the following form guide on who to watch in each event:
Who to watch (via worldrowing.com):
Men’s solo (CM1x)
The 45 competitors entered makes the men’s solo is the biggest event in Hong Kong. All eyes will be on the returning champion from 2018, Eduardo Linares Ruiz. Linares Ruiz previously competed for Peru, but is representing Great Britain at this event and will be looking to land on the top of the podium again. He will face tough competition from last year’s silver medallist, Lars Wichert of Germany and last year’s bronze medallist, Simone Martini from Italy. Martini is one of the most experienced coastal rowers in the field, owning gold from 2017 and a silver medal that dates back to the 2014 World Rowing Coastal Championships.
Keep an eye too on Adrian Miramon Quiroga of Spain02. Miramon landed just outside the medals last year, but was coastal champion back in 2015 and 2016. He comes directly to Hong Kong having just won the men’s solo at the World Rowing Beach Sprint Finals last weekend in Shenzhen, China. And watch out for the Dutch entry, Mitchel Steenman. Steenman won gold last year in the men’s double sculls together with Julien Bahain, but is trying his hand in the solo this year. Steenman also raced at the Beach Sprint Finals taking bronze in the mixed double sculls.
Women’s solo (CW1x)
Diana Dymchenko of Ukraine01 is the one to beat. Dymchenko holds the world title from 2017 and 2018, proving that she is able to beat the rest of the best in varying conditions. But Dymchenko will have tough competition. Last year’s silver medallist from the Netherlands, Janneke van der Meulen is making a return, along with bronze medallist Jessica Berra of France. Van der Meulen warmed up for this event by racing to bronze in the mixed double sculls at the World Rowing Beach Sprint Finals.
Ireland has sent an impressive six entries in this boat class, with their top entry Sionna Healy having finished eighth last year. If the conditions are right, Healy might just end up in the top of the pack. And keep an eye too on the competitors from Denmark and Sweden. They are both experienced and have often been amongst the top finishers.
Men’s double sculls (CM2x)
The host region, Hong Kong has entered an impressive nine crews in this packed event, bringing the total number of entries to 42. The podium is wide open with the absence of all three of last year’s medal winners. Many of the crews have seen a reshuffling of their talent. Watch out for Italy’s new line-up of Gustavo Ferrio and Piero Sfiligoi. They hold a gold medal from the men’s quadruple sculls at last year’s event and have supplemented their coastal medal rack with top placements in flatwater rowing. Ferrio recently took a bronze medal at the World Rowing Under 23 Championships and Sfiligoi is a World Champion in flatwater rowing.
Keep an eye too on the contingent from France. They are typically good in this boat class. And don’t rule out a top finish from the Spanish duo of Antonio Garcia Carbonell and Ander Martin.
Women’s double sculls (CW2x)
In the absence of last year’s champions, Frederica Molinaro and Eleanora Denich of Italy, all eyes will turn to the top French crews. Nathalie Collet and Diane Delalleau earned the spot as France01 by winning the Open de France last month. They beat last year’s world silver medallists Maya Cornut and Josephine Cornut-Danjou. But Collet and Delalleau have quite the coastal rowing pedigree. They hold a bronze medal from last year’s event and a silver medal from 2017. Will this be their year for gold?
Watch out too for the Russian entry. Russia won back in 2017 and may put up a good fight. There are also top entries from Denmark and Spain. These nations have historically done well in this boat class.
Men’s coxed quadruple sculls (CM4x+)
This category has been almost entirely dominated by crews from Italy over the last few years. The Italians have quite a tradition in coastal rowing and always manage to put together several podium-finishing boats. This year, Italy has entered two crews, both with top coastal rowing athletes. Four out of the five from last year’s gold medal winning crew are entered in Italy01. Monaco finished second last year and have entered a relatively new line-up this year. Watch out too for France and China. They regularly finish in the top of the pack. Both have both entered new line-ups this year.
Women’s coxed quadruple sculls (CW4x+)
Russia is probably the crew to beat in the women’s quad. They are reigning World Champions and return this year with three crew. Russia is likely to be chased by the two crews from Spain. Spain01 finished with the silver medal last year and have reshuffled their rowers into two crews, but are likely to have retained top speed.
Watch out too for Denmark. They have had podium success and have an important history with coastal rowing. And don’t be surprised if crews from China and Ireland make it into the top finishers.
Mixed double sculls (CMix2x)
This is the second year for the addition of the mixed double sculls and the entries are impressive. Thirty-nine crews will be taking part, including last year’s gold medallists from the Netherlands, Mitchel Steenman and Janneke van der Meulen. They will be challenged by last year’s silver medallists from France, Pierrick Ledard and Edwige Alfred. Ledard and Alfred raced to silver last weekend at the World Rowing Beach Sprint Finals.
Keep an eye out for the new combination from Spain. They finished with the bronze medal last year, but have made a number of changes to their crews. And there’s a new combination from Ukraine of Diana Dymchenko and Yuriv Ivanov. With women’s solo 2018 world champion, Dymchenko in the boat, this is likely to be a speedy combination.