Stefanos Ntouskos, Men's Single Sculls, Greece, Finals, Podium, 2021 World Rowing European Olympic and Paralympic Qualification Regatta, Varese, Italy - photo Detlev Seyb / Myrowingphoto.com

The 2021 World Rowing European Olympic and Paralympic Qualification Regatta was one of the qualification opportunities for rowers to race for quota positions at this year’s Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. Held in Varese, Italy, finals took place on Thursday 8 April with 22 nations taking part.

Qualifying spots were available in the men’s and women’s single sculls (three each), men’s and women’s lightweight double sculls (two each) and the men’s and women’s para PR1 single sculls (one each). Eleven nations qualified.

The event was open to European nations that had qualified one or no crews for the Olympic Games, or no crews for the Paralympic Games at the 2019 World Rowing Championships.

Russia placed first in the women single sculls when Hanna Prakhatsen jumped to an early lead. Prakhatsen is new to the category having previously competed in the Russian women’s quadruple sculls. Ukraine’s Diana Dymchenko came second and Serbia’s Jovana Arsic finished third.

Greece’s Stefanos Ntouskos finished first in the men’s single sculls to earn the Olympic spot. Ntouskos established himself as the clear favourite through the regatta by winning his heat and semifinal. Russia’s Alexander Vyazovkin was second with Bendeguz Petervari-Molnar of Hungary in third.

Russia continued by winning the lightweight women’s double sculls with second place going to Greece.

Ukraine’s lightweight men’s double sculls of Igor Khmara and Stanislav Kovalov placed first among a tough and experienced field of scullers, including Portugal’s Pedro Fraga and Afonso Costa. In a dash to the finish line, Portugal managed finish second with Russia holding on to third.

In the para rowing categories, it was the newcomer from Spain, Javier Reja Munoz who secured first and the one available qualification spot to the Tokyo Paralympic Games (to be confirmed) in the PR1 men’s single sculls. Reja Munoz is a Paralympian in canoeing, but recently converted to rowing.

With just two boats competing in the PR1 women’s single sculls, Belarus’ Liudmila Vauchok made a successful return to the sport after several years away. She beat the young Ebba Einarsson of Sweden to secure the invitation to the Paralympic Games (which has now been confirmed).

The qualification system specifies that each country is only allowed to qualify one boat (each for the Olympic and Paralympic Games) from the continental qualification regattas, with the exception of countries which win two events and qualified no crews from the 2019 World Rowing Championships.

The final qualification spots are being confirmed by the National Olympic or Paralympic Committees (NOCs and NPCs). To find the latest qualification information, click here: https://worldrowing.com/event/2020-olympic-games-regatta (will be updated when the Varese qualifiers are confirmed by the NOCs)

The current status of qualification from Varese is (subject to NOC and NPC confirmation by 28 April 2021):

M1x – Greece, Hungary, Turkey
W1x – Russia, Serbia, Sweden
LW2x – Russia, Austria
LM2x – Ukraine, Portugal
PR1M1x – Spain
PR1W1x – Belarus

Continental qualification regattas continue in rowing with the Asian and Oceanian Olympic and Paralympic Qualification Regatta in Tokyo, Japan from 5-7 May, 2021.

The last Olympic qualification opportunity open to all member federations will be the Final Olympic Qualification Regatta in Lucerne, Switzerland from 15-17 May 2021. The last Paralympic qualification opportunity open to all will be the Final Paralympic Qualification Regatta in Gavirate, Italy (new dates) from 3-5 June 2021.