The 2019 World Rowing season kicked off today in Plovidv, Bulgaria with racing in the heats of the first leg of the World Rowing Cup. It was near perfect conditions for the start of the event as racing got underway in warm sunshine on the purpose built rowing lake that also hosted the World Rowing Championships last year.
Damir Martin of Croatia, determined to put his sub-par season last year behind him, looked confident winning his heat today in the men’s single sculls, albeit against a somewhat depleted field. Many of the big names have opted to begin their season next month at World Cup II in Poland and are absent here in Plovdiv.
In the women’s singles competiton, Heat 1 today saw the 39-year-old Mirka Knapkova of the Czech Republic – the 2012 Olympic Champion – go against Ekaterina Karsten of Belarus. Karsten is the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Champion in the single and is working towards her seventh Olympic Games. Knapkova took 2017 off to have a baby and then raced in the women’s quad in 2018, but for 2019 she is back in the single and looked powerful today as she won her heat to progress straight to Sunday’s final.
An injury in the Dutch women’s quad has put Lisa Scheenard into the single and she raced in Heat Two. Scheenard is the Dutch champion in this event and led comfortably throughout the race today. China’s Jiang Yan followed in second with no one threatening these leaders.
Full results and summary of today’s racing can be found here.