2019 World Rowing Junior Championships, Tokyo, Japan
2019 World Rowing Junior Championships, Tokyo, Japan

For the first time there will be an equal number of men and women rowers at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and also a record number of participating countries.

Eighty nations will be competing in the Olympic rowing regatta which will start in two weeks at the Sea Forest Waterway on Tokyo Bay.

A total of 526 athletes have qualified – 263 women and men each – in the 14 boat classes. The Netherlands has qualified the greatest number of boats with 11 boats. This is followed by Canada and Great Britain, both with ten boats.

The women’s four will be raced for the first time since 1992 and the top qualifier for this boat class is Australia after winning at the main qualification regatta – the 2019 World Rowing Championships. Australia has selected Annabelle McIntyre, Jessica Morrison, Rosemary Popa and Lucy Stephan to race in the four. McIntyre and Morrison will also race in the women’s pair. They will race against top qualifiers Kerri Gowler and Grace Prendergast who have been selected to represent New Zealand in the pair. Racing in the pair for Great Britain is 2012 and 2016 Olympic Champion Helen Glover making a comeback with Polly Swann. And making a change from an Olympic medal in the women’s single sculls is Denmark’s Fie Udby Erichsen who qualified in the pair with Hedvig Rasmussen at the Final Olympic Qualification Regatta in May.

Top qualifiers in the men’s eight, Germany has named a crew that includes four returnees from their 2016 Olympic silver medal crew – Malte Jakschik, Hannes Ocik, Richard Schmidt and coxswain Martin Sauer. Their perpetual rivals, Great Britain, who are the reigning Olympic Champions, have named a crew that includes no rowers from their 2016 gold medal Olympic boat. The crew does include men’s four Olympic Champion Mohamed Sbihi.

Competing at his seventh Olympics is Norway’s Olaf Tufte. The 45-year-old has two Olympic golds in the men’s single sculls and four Olympic medals in all. Tufte will race in the men’s quadruple sculls. The Estonian quad also includes an Olympic veteran; Tonu Endrekson will be racing at his fifth Olympics and going after Olympic medal number three.

The men’s and women’s single sculls events both have 32 entries with Sanita Puspure of Ireland the top qualifier after winning the 2019 World Rowing Championships. Puspure comes to Tokyo after a C-final finish at the Rio Olympics. Returning to rowing after finishing fourth at the Rio Olympics is New Zealand’s Emma Twigg. Due to Covid restrictions Tokyo will be Twigg’s first international event since 2019. For the men Germany’s Oliver Zeidler has been dominating this boat class in the last couple of years. Tokyo will be Zeidler’s first Olympic Games and the same goes for Zeidler’s main competition Sverri Nielsen of Denmark.

Nine countries will be competing in Olympic rowing for the first time – Benin, Dominican Republic, Ivory Coast, Morocco, Namibia, Nicaragua, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Uganda. Rowing at the Tokyo Olympic Games will start on 23 July 2021 with finals being contested on 27, 28, 29 and 30 July.

For the entries, click here.