LIVE: Finals day 2021 European Rowing Championships

Varese Italy

Words Tom Ransley
Photography Benedict Tufnell
Published 11.04.21

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Photo Fumigating the medal area ahead of today’s finals
Credit Benedict Tufnell

The first final of the day has started and the men’s doubles are competing in Final D.


Coming into the last 250 meters and Moldova are in the lead but it is tight with the chasing field.


Sweden launched a stinging attack to cross the line first, pushing Moldova into second and Slovakia in third.


Final C of the men’s double. Norwegian and Belgian crews at the front.


It is still neck and neck at the 250 meter mark between Norway and Belgium.


Norway take the win ahead of Belgium.

Photo Norway M2x win Final C
Credit Benedict Tufnell

Women’s pair Final B gets underway.


Three crews are contesting this Final B and at the 1500 the order is Netherlands half a length ahead of the Czech Republic and further back is Denmark.


The Dutch have done enough to hold on and take the win which gives them seventh place overall, followed by the Czech Republic and then in ninth are Denmark.

Photo The Dutch cross the finish first in the women’s pair Final B
Credit Benedict Tufnell

Leading the men’s pair Final B at the 1000 meter mark are the newly former British pair who just missed out progression to the A Final in yesterday’s semi-final.


Great Britain are still in control as the enter the red buoys and the final 250 meters but it is tight for second place between the Danes and Belarus


Order remains unchanged at the finish line: Great Britain men’s pair win the Final B a length ahead of Denmark and Belarus following behind in that order.

Photo Great Britain M2- win the Final B
Credit Benedict Tufnell

Women’s double scull Final B. Italy win ahead of a battling Hungry and Belarus.


Men’s Double Final B which includes the former single sculler Ondrej Synek


Fierce competition in the final 250 meters of the men’s double – with Ireland coming out the best in the battle to the finish. Ireland win, with Italy second and Germany get third


Ukraine win the women’s coxless four

Photo Olena Buryak drives her crew on from the stroke seat of the Ukraine W4- as they win the Final B
Credit Benedict Tufnell

On the course now are the men’s four crew competing in the Final B


Scorching race to the line with France edging out the Swiss in the men’s four Final B. Belarus take third place.


Lightweight men’s single sculls Final B and it is the Slovenia athlete that claims victory and roars in celebration at the finish line.

Photo Slovenian lightweight single sculler wins his Final B
Credit Benedict Tufnell

Bow ball to bow ball action in the women’s lightweight single sculls


Poland win holding off the German who manages to take second place ahead of the Swiss sculler. The local Italian sculler struggles to keep pace and finishes last in the Final B of the lightweight women single sculls.


Final B of the lightweight women’s double. And the Polish have dominated the rest of the competition crossing the finish with at least a length of clear water.


Lightweight men’s doubles are up now in their Final B. Denmark and Russia are trying to get back on terms with Spain who are in the lead. The crew are approaching the final quarter.


Danes are doing everything they can to overhaul the Spanish


Spanish bravery is rewarded as they defend their lead all the way to the finish. Denmark take second. A bit further back are the Russians in third. France fourth and Greece fifth. The British crew withdrew before today’s Final B race.


Men’s single sculls Final B. Matthew Haywood of Great Britain have gone out hard in an attempt to stamp his authority on the race.


Romania looks good out in front and holds off the rest of the field through till the finish line. Belarus claims second. And it is extremely tight between Great Britain and Italy. Disappointing the locals Matthew Haywood of Great Britain takes the third spot.


Four crews contest the women’s single sculls Final B – Denmark dominates the middle of the race


Germany dropped in the third 500 meters but reclaims the lead and crosses the line with a length of clear water over Denmark. The Greek sculler claims third.

Photo German sculler crosses the finish line in Final B
Credit Benedict Tufnell
Photo Exhausted French scullers after crossing the finish line in second place behind the Polish in the women’s quadruple sculls Final B
Credit Benedict Tufnell

Final B women’s quadruple sculls and it is the Polish who lead the early stages perhaps venting their frustration at missing the A Final.


France keep it competitive as the women’s quadruple sculls cross the line. Poland win a length ahead of France, who are a similar distance in front of the Swiss.


Men’s quadruple sculls Final B and the Olympic legend Olaf Tufte sets the rhythm for the Norwegian men


Super sprint finish by all six quadruple sculls but it is the Russian crew that take the top spot in the men’s Final B. Ukraine take second and the Czech Republic manage third.

Photo The Russian scullers win and cross the line ahead of Ukraine who claim second place in Final B men’s quadruple sculls
Credit Benedict Tufnell

There’s a brief twenty-minute interval in the racing schedule. Plenty of time to check out yesterday’s update here

Photo Birgit Skarstein crossing the finish line to become the 2021 European Champion
Credit Benedict Tufnell

Success for Brigit Skarstein of Norway in the PR1 women’s single sculls

Photo Brigit Skarstein takes the title of 2021 European Champion in the PR1 W1x
Credit Benedict Tufnell

Former canoeist Roman Polianskyi of Ukraine takes the title of the PR1 single sculls. A brave effort from Benjamin Pritchard but he has to settle for the silver medal and Markus Klemp of Germany claims the bronze.

Photo Roman Polianskyi of Ukraine celebrates on the podium after winning the PR1 M1x
Credit Benedict Tufnell

Lightweight women single sculls Final A sets off as the rain continues to pour down on the athletes in Varese.


As the crews approach the final 500 meters it is Belarus first Romania second and France in third.


Unchanged at the finish line Belarus wins ahead of Romania for the silver and France takes the bronze.

Photo Alena Furman heading to the medal ceremony after winning the LW1x
Credit Benedict Tufnell

Gary O’Donovan of Ireland and his opponents in the Final A of the lightweight men’s single sculls come under starters orders.


Hungary maintains their lead and takes the gold medal. It is a tight finish between Italy and Poland but the Italian takes it and the Polish athlete must settle for the bronze.

Photo Podium places in the lightweight men’s single sculls

Great Britain’s scullers take the title in the PR2 Mix double. Strong sculling from the Netherlands who took silver ahead of the France.

Photo Great Britain PR2 Mix 2x
Credit Benedict Tufnell

PR3 Mix coxed fours are racing down the course and Great Britain are going well in the early stages.


Great Britain take a comfortable lead and to their impress haul of silverware. The French secure a silver and Ukraine the bronze medal ahead of home crew Italy that miss out on the podium.


Three horse race in the lightweight men’s pair Final A. The pair from Moldova cannot handle the pace set by the crews from Hungary and Italy. The Hungarians come out on top and take the gold.

Photo Lightweight men’s pair from Hungary
Credit Benedict Tufnell

During the medal ceremony of PR3 Mix coxed four gold medal winners bow their heads in honour of the recently deceased HRH Prince Philip.

Photo Bowed heads from the British team owing to the death of HRH Prince Philip
Credit Benedict Tufnell

Lightweight men quadruple sculls line up along the starting blocks to compete in their Final A. Turkey will be watching in isolation after members of the their delegation tested positive for Covid over the weekend – forcing their rowers to withdraw from the Championship.


Lightweight men quadruple sculls delivers a phenomenal sprint finish. The Italians break the European Championship record on home water in order to take the gold ahead of a fantastic finish by the French. A long way back the Dutch are pushed hard by the Austrians but hang on to the bronze.


Hotly anticipated the women’s pair line up at the start line. Can the British comeback queens Polly Swann and Helen Glover take the gold?


Sensational racing that goes down to the line. Polly Swann and Helen Glover need no time to return to their winning ways as they edge out the Romanians and the Spanish pairs to win the European crown. Successful comeback! Romania silver and Spain get bronze.

Photo Polly Swann and Helen Glover in the British pair cross the line first ahead of Romania
Credit Benedict Tufnell
Photo Dutch LM4x in the media zone
Credit Benedict Tufnell

Men’s pair and the Sinkovic brothers are unbreakable as they claim the gold. Italy cross the line just behind in silver and Serbia land the bronze.

Photo Sinkovic brothers celebrate their gold medal winning performance ahead of Italy and Serbia
Credit Benedict Tufnell

Women’s double Romania take the gold holding off the recently reformed Lithuanian double who place in second place. It was a tight battle for the bronze medal between Great Britain and the Netherlands. And the British crew take the bronze.

Photo Romanian W2x on the podium proud of their shiny new gold medals
Credit Benedict Tufnell

The men’s doubles line up at the start ready to compete for the medals.


A quick start and pretty close across all the crews – the high rating Russians take an early lead but it looks a precarious.


The Russians are reeled in and the French double pushes through to stake out a dominant position at the front of the field. The Dutch try to move into pole positive but don’t have the firepower they take the silver medal and it is left for Great Britain and Switzerland to scrap over the bronze medal. Great Britain get to the finish line ahead of the Swiss and claim the last spot on the podium.


The women’s four are under starters orders.


Tired celebrations from the delighted Dutch as they cross the finish line a canvas ahead of the Irish who settle for silver. Great Britain are next across to earn their bronze medals.

Photo Irish W4- on the podium celebrate a well-deserved silver medal
Credit Benedict Tufnell

The men’s four take their positions on the starting pontoons.


Great Britain look strong as they control the race from the front.


Great Britain hold the pole position through to the finish and claim the gold medal. Romania finish in the silver spot ahead of Italy who take bronze.

Photo Sholto Carnegie of the British M4- on the podium after delivering a comprehensive win to take the European title.
Credit Benedict Tufnell

Lightweight women’s double is won by the Italians who fend off the British attack. Close behind in the bronze medal position are the Dutch.


Commotion on the podium as the lightweight Italian stroke woman dashes to the grandstand and celebrates her victory fresh from the water. Cameras rush to snap the mask-clad hugs.


The Irish lightweight men’s double cross the line ahead of their competitive and fast finishing opposition. Germany take silver and Italy take the bronze on home water.

Photo LM2x Ireland docking at the podium waiting to don their gold medals.
Credit Benedict Tufnell

Women’s quadruple sculls A Final starts and the Dutch hope to defend their European crowns. The Dutch have gone off fast. Great Britain and Germany are still with them – a gap is opening up to the rest of the field trailing behind.


An absolute barnstorm with the British crew relentless in their fight to topple the Dutch from the top spot. But the Dutch defended their lead all the way to the line. Gold for the Netherland, silver for Great Britain and bronze for Germany.

Photo A successful defence of their European Championship title. The delight Dutch women’s quadruple sculls on the podium with their gold medals.
Credit Benedict Tufnell

The men’s quadruple sculls was fast and furious with local heroes Italy taking the gold and the Dutch in the silver spot followed by Estonia who take the bronze medal. Poland fall into the painful fourth position and Great Britain will likely be a shade disappointed not to feature in the medals.

Photo Italian M4x checking their win as they cross the finish line to take the title ahead of the Dutch.
Credit Benedict Tufnell

The Netherlands and Romania have leapt to the front of the field in the women’s eight with the Romanians in pole position.


The women in the Romanian eight hold their nerve and push out a sizeable lead: they hold it to the finish line. The Dutch make a valiant effort but must accept the silver medal a length behind the Romanians. The Russian eight does well on the outside land to hang on to the bronze medal despite a late attack from the British from the centre of the course. Germany and Italy fill the bottom to places.


With the umpire’s roll call complete the highly anticipated men’s single sculls are underway.


Kjetil Borch of Norway is flanked by the 2020 European Champion Sverri Nielsen and the 2019 World Champion Oliver Zeidler. And through the second quarter Oliver Zeidler builds a decent lead.


Still in control Oliver Zeidler is out in front and sculling well but can he hold on to the finish? Greek sculler passes Sverri Nielsen to get into the silver medal position.


As they approach the final 100 meters it is the German still in front.


Oliver Zeidler comfortable enough in the top spot adding the European title to his World crown. Sverri Nielsen from Denmark gets silver and there are groans from those on the bank as the young Greek sculler Stefanos Ntouskos is pipped by Poland’s Natan Wegrzycki-Szymczyk. Perhaps, a lack of experience cost the greek sculler a medal as it appears he stopped a stroke before the line – one to check in the debrief.


Women’s single sculls are under starters orders.


Hanna Prakhatsen of Russia takes the win by a considerable distance. She won the European Olympic Qualification Regatta four days ago and is clearly in great form.  Victoria Thornley of Great Britain takes the silver medal ahead of Jeannine Gmelin of Switzerland.


Last race of the day and the buzzer sounds for the men’s eights. Can the Germans reassert control on the event after Friday’s disappointing fourth place in the exhibition race.


The German achter have come out swinging – like a wounded animal this crew are laying it all on the line to protect their phenomenal record of eight straight European titles. Can they hold this? Great Britain look super strong.


Germany cannot handle the British pressure. They slip from the top spot and quickly descend the ranks to cross the finish line in fourth place. It is the big shock of the regatta. But perhaps not so shocking to the nine British men onboard they look composed as they take the win. The Dutch have the silver medal and Romanians celebrate their bronze.

Photo The victorious British Eight on the podium with their gold medals.
Credit Benedict Tufnell

The eights medal ceremony is the last of the 2021 European Rowing Championships. And as the safety boat driver infuriates the coxswains by washing down the medal-winning eights moored against the podium – Row360 shall sign off from finals day in Varese. See you in two weeks at World Cup 1 in Zagreb. Ciao!