The Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games rowing regatta venue, the Sea Forest Waterway, will play host to the top junior rowers in the world for the 2019 World Rowing Junior Championships. This will take place from 7 to 11 August 2019 and doubles as a test event for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games rowing regattas.
Fifty nations are taking part in the junior championships and it is worth noting the inclusion of the smaller rowing nations of Algeria, Kiribati, Panama and Cyprus. They are part of over 550 competing athletes.
The United States and Germany are both sending a full team to contest all 14 boat classes. Last year the United States finished first on the medals table with Italy in second and Great Britain in third. Italy is contesting 12 boat classes, while Great Britain has entries in nine boat classes.
The largest field entered is the men’s double sculls with crews from 24 countries racing. Just behind this is the women’s double sculls with 22 entries. The women’s single sculls is nearly as popular with 21 entries and the men’s single has attracted 19 entries. This is the first time that the women’s single has received more entries than the men and it indicates the ongoing trend in the growth of women’s rowing.
This is the second year of gender equality in all World Rowing’s World Championship regattas. The number of boat classes is now equal across the board for juniors with the junior women’s coxed four being added in 2018. The junior boat entries have now reached 47 per cent female, up from 43 per cent in 2017. The gender balance in entries of junior rowers has reached 44.8 per cent which is up from 42 per cent in 2017, before the gender balanced programme was changed.
As the World Rowing Junior Championships is the pinnacle rowing event for junior rowers, it usually takes until they are 18 years of age to make their junior national team. This means that the athletes often only race at one junior championships before they move on to the under-23 or senior level. In the women’s single race, the list of competitors is new with none of the top 12 from 2018 entered. For the men’s single the fourth and fifth-placed athletes from 2018 have returned to race again. They are Ivan Brynza of Belarus and Genaro di Mauro of Italy.
All of the athletes will get to test the Tokyo 2020 regatta course. Known as the Sea Forest Waterway regatta course, it is situated in Tokyo Bay between two reclaimed islands. It has been specifically constructed in a former shipping channel to cater for an eight lane, buoyed course with wave protection along all sides. The junior athletes will race for junior world championship titles but also for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Organising Committee to test this venue during international-level racing.
For rowers to be eligible to compete at the World Rowing Junior Championships, they must be 18 years of age or under. A rower can compete as a junior until 31 December of the year in which he or she reaches the age of 18; after that date the rower advances to the under-23 category.