Martyna Radosz (s), Women's Double Sculls, Poland, Heats, 2019 European Rowing Championships, Lucerne, Switzerland

World Rowing has reached the decision deadline for the Final Olympic Qualification Regatta, the Final Paralympic Qualification Regatta and the World Rowing Cup II, all envisioning global participation. It has been World Rowing’s position that sport should continue during this pandemic and that events should, when and where possible, take place while keeping the safety and health of rowers and all participants as the priority.

Following extensive discussions with all key stakeholders and applying the previously published decision-making framework, the World Rowing Executive Committee has verified that preparations for the three events conform with the World Rowing requirements and confirms that the three regattas will take place as planned;

  • the Final Olympic Qualification Regatta from 15 to 17 May 2021 in Lucerne, SUI
  • the World Rowing Cup II regatta from 21 to 23 May 2021 in Lucerne, SUI
  • the Final Paralympic Qualification Regatta from 3 to 5 June 2021 in Gavirate, ITA, including international classification opportunities (in connection with the Gavirate International Para Rowing Regatta from 4 to 6 June 2021).

As previously stated, the decision-making framework for all events during the pandemic begins with two key considerations: first, the ability of the organising committee and the host city to still stage the event in the current circumstances and, second, the full commitment of the organising committee and host city to implement the strict COVID-19 transmission mitigation measures required by World Rowing’s “Return to Regattas” guidelines.

In addition, a third consideration applied to Olympic and Paralympic qualification events is whether a “fair and equal opportunity to access the event” can be achieved for teams travelling globally to participate.

World Rowing is profoundly aware of the obstacles national teams are facing in taking part in international events. In order to make the most informed decision, information was gathered through a global survey of all Member Federations. At this time a number of Member Federations would face quarantines when returning home, and both Italy and Switzerland currently have arrival quarantine measures in place for arrivals from certain countries. However, both countries have sport-related exemptions which can be used to eliminate the arrival quarantines. These will be explained below.

As the last Olympic Games delivery date for Tokyo as part of the Games’ Freight Support Plan is currently scheduled for 17 May 2021 and the last Paralympic Games delivery date as part of the Games’ Freight Support Plan is currently scheduled for 8 June 2021, there was no option to further postpone either event.

Finally, the decision-making framework took into account the need for certainty and the time required for planning travel and accommodation and to, where possible, minimise financial consequences.

COVID Response Plans

As required by World Rowing’s event management guidance (Return to Regattas found here) which was successfully tested during 2020, the OCs have developed a COVID-19 response plan for staging each event based on the recommendations of the World Health Organisation (WHO) & World Rowing. These plans have been reviewed and approved by the Swiss and Italian national and local health authorities. World Rowing and the two OCs are confident that the measures planned to be in place are appropriate and reasonable to minimise the risk of transmission at the event. The regatta COVID-19 Response Plans are available online, for Lucerne here and for Gavirate here.

Each Member Federation is responsible to exercise maximum care for its team members before, during and after each event. All participants must follow the measures in the OC COVID-19 Response Plans at all times, including the wearing of masks at all times (except in the boat, on an ergometer or at meals), social distancing and regular disinfection among the other measures published by the OCs.

In addition to meeting any local government requirements, each participant at the regattas will be required to complete a Pre-Event Health Questionnaire, and Member Federations are obliged to sign a consent form accepting responsibility for their team members. The forms will be sent out to Member Federations directly by the OCs and must be completed and returned before teams arrive at the venue. In addition, all participation conditions will be explained to participating athletes and officials in a webinar to be organised before travel to the event. To protect the health of all participants, anyone not adhering to the participation conditions will be immediately disqualified and excluded from the event, at the discretion of the World Rowing Executive Committee.


Final Olympic Qualification Regatta and World Rowing Cup II in Lucerne, Switzerland

In terms of overcoming entry restrictions for Switzerland, there are two factors for restrictions to entering Switzerland – one from the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) and one from the Office of Health (FOPH). These exemptions will be further explained through the OC website.

It will be a requirement of both events to be held in Lucerne that all teams, media and World Rowing personnel including Jury, service providers and equipment providers will be required to have a negative PCR test result taken within 72 hours of arriving at the venue. This shall be regardless of if a team or official is coming from a neighbouring country or internally from Switzerland who may not necessarily otherwise require a negative test to travel.

It should also be noted that the two events will be held as two distinct regattas, with a clear break between them so that complete venue sanitising can take place. All boats must be removed from the venue on 17 May and no training will be allowed on 18 May 2021. Any crew that is only racing at the World Rowing Cup shall not have access to the venue during the Final Olympic Qualification Regatta.  Further details on this shall be provided.

Final Paralympic Qualification Regatta in Gavirate, Italy

In terms of overcoming entry restrictions for Italy, team members and officials attending the FPQR would be exempted from the quarantine of 14 days but they still need a negative PCR made 48 hours before the arrival in Italy. The exemption is found in “the Decree of the President of the Council of Ministers” –  DPCM 14 January 2021 http://www.governo.it/sites/new.governo.it/files/Dpcm_14_gennaio_2021.pdf

These exemptions will be further explained through the OC website.

It should be noted that the Para Rowing events planned for World Rowing Cup III in Sabaudia have been removed from the programme and moved to the Gavirate International Para Rowing Regatta. An updated Provisional Programme for World Rowing Cup III will be published shortly.

World Rowing and the two organising committees will continue to monitor travel restrictions and the global COVID-19 situation.

Comment from the WR Executive Committee

The Executive Committee has faced perhaps the most difficult and complex decision ever taken for the sport of rowing.

The Executive Committee is fully aware of the challenges facing athletes and officials travelling to the regattas including risks associated with the current pandemic. However, when evaluating the risks and the measures being taken to mitigate those risks, the daily risks athletes and officials currently face, in general, as well as considering the relative appropriateness and fairness of other possible methods for qualification for the Games, the Executive Committee deems this decision most proportional, reasonable and acceptable.

With the knowledge of the sport exemptions that eliminate entry quarantines into Switzerland and Italy, the Executive Committee believes that the key limitation of access to the qualification regattas has been overcome. As always, some athletes must travel longer distances than others, face different challenges, some have been able to train with less disruption than others, but we believe it is a priority, if possible, that each athlete have fair and equal access “on the line” to try to qualify for the Olympic and Paralympic Games


Para Rowing events for the Asia / Oceania Continental Paralympic Qualification

Thanks to the great support of the Japan Rowing Association, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games Organising Committee and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the Asia / Oceania Paralympic continental qualification for the two PR1 single sculls events will take place at the Asian/Oceania Olympic and Paralympic Continental Qualification Regatta, at Sea Forest Waterway, Tokyo from 5 to 7 May 2021. More details will follow.


Classification and mandatory Event Participation

It is recognised that several Member Federations face challenges to satisfy the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) eligibility requirements:


To be eligible for selection by an NPC, athletes must:

  • have competed in at least one (1) official FISA competition between 1 January 2018 and 13 June 2021;
  • be internationally classified either with a ‘Confirmed’ sport class status or a ‘Review’ sport class status with a review date after 31 December.


These are principles of the IPC and, as such, Member Federations facing challenges should write with specific details and explanations to their National Paralympic Committee with copy to World Rowing (liz.soutter@worldrowing.com ) for presentation to the IPC.


Next Member Federation Zoom Meeting

Member Federation Zoom Meetings are scheduled for 9 am and 5 pm CET tomorrow, 23 February 2021. Member Federations will be given the links through email.


Remaining World Rowing Regatta Decisions

The remaining World Rowing regattas will be addressed individually according to the published decision-making timelines (updated below).

World Rowing Executive Committee

22 February 2021


World Rowing Key 2021 Event Confirmation Dates –
Chronological by Confirmation Date (updated at 220221 – changes underlined)
Confirmation Date Event Event Dates Member Federation Zoom Calls
Monday, 11 Jan, 2 pm CET Americas OCQR Rio 4 – 6 March 2021 Tues, 12 Jan, 5pm CET
Monday, 25 Jan, 2 pm CET EOQPR Varese 5 – 7 April 2021 Tues, 26 Jan, 9am CET
Monday, 8 Feb, 2 pm CET WRC I Zagreb 30 April -2 May 2021 Tues, 9 Feb, 9am & 5pm CET
Monday, 22 Feb, 2 pm CET FPQR Gavirate 3 – 5 June 2021 Tues, 23 Feb, 9am & 5pm CET
Monday, 22 Feb, 2 pm CET FOQR Lucerne 15 – 17 May 2021 Tues, 23 Feb, 9am & 5pm CET
Monday, 22 Feb, 2 pm CET WRC II Lucerne 21 – 23 May 2021 Tues, 23 Feb, 9am & 5pm CET
Monday, 1 Mar,
2 pm CET
WRC III Sabaudia 4 – 6 June 2021 Tues, 2 Mar, 9am & 5pm CET
Monday, 1 Mar,
2 pm CET
Asia/Oceania OCQR Tokyo 5 – 7 May 2021 Tues, 2 Mar, 9 am CET
Monday, 12 Apr,
2 pm CET
WRU23CH Racice 7 – 11 July 2021 Tues, 13 April, 9am & 5pm CET
Friday, 30 Apr,
2 pm CET
WRMR Linz-Ottensheim 1 – 5 Sept 2021 No Zoom Planned
Monday, 10 May, 2 pm CET WRJCH Plovdiv 11 – 15 August 2021 Tues, 11 May, 9am & 5pm CET
Monday, 28 Jun, 2 pm CET WRBSF & WRCC Oeiras 24 Sept – 3 Oct 2021 Tues, 29 Jun, 9am & 5pm CET
Monday, 12 Jul,
2 pm CET
WRCH Shanghai 17 – 24 October 2021 Tues, 13 Jul, 9am & 5pm CET