It is usually only once in your rowing career that you get to row at the World Rowing Junior Championships. This meant that the world championship titles become even more sought-after and this was evident in today’s finals at the 2021 World Rowing Junior Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria as athletes raced with resolution, with pure heart.

Over this five-day regatta the heat had played a major part in racing with athletes having to carefully manage rowing in these conditions. But the water had been flat and the wind light. Today had flat water with a very slight tail breeze. And it was hot.

Women’s coxed four (JW4+) – Final

Italy shot out in the first A-final for the Junior Championships in two years. You could hear the coxswains encouraging their athletes on as the crews settled into their race rhythm. Following the fast moving Italy at 36 strokes per minute was the United States. Through the middle of the race these two boats started to push away from the rest of the field. Then in the third 500 the USA did a piece. They hadn’t changed their stroke rate from 34 and they were gaining on Italy. Then they went to 36 and overtook Italy. Germany was in third but looked to be too far back to get another coloured medal. Italy tried to push back on the United States.

Then Germany charged and Italy was under threat for their silver. The line came in time. The United States had won and Italy had held on to second.

Results: USA, ITA, GER, UKR, RSA


Men’s coxed four (JM4+) – Final

Italy and the United States won their respective heats on Thursday putting them into the centre lanes and into the favoured position. Italy love fast starts and at the beginning of this race they were the fastest boat on the water. France and Turkey followed very closely and by the middle of the race Italy, France and Turkey had broken away from the rest of the field. Italy’s bow man Emilio Pappalettera raced at the 2019 World Rowing Junior Championships in the straight four and he must have been using his experience to keep in front.

As they came into the final 500m Italy still had the lead with France and Turkey remaining close together. But the United States were starting to come. It was a fantastic final sprint. Italy had enough left to hold off the challengers. The United States continued to come, but it was too late. Turkey held on to second with France in third.




South Africa had the fastest time from the repechage and they got into the lead at the start over Ukraine. South Africa settled at a 37-stroke rate pace to hold the lead with Ukraine doing their best to stay ahead of Croatia. The South Africans still had to lead and had stretched out to open water going into the second half of the race. Then Ukraine came back and closed on South Africa. But the South Africans held them off on the line by just a canvas.

Results: RSA, UKR, CRO, SUI


Women’s pair (JW2-) – Final

It was a great start for Russia who kept at 40 strokes per minute to get the lead. But Chile was still up at 41 and challenging. Chile raced in the World Rowing Under 23 Championships earlier this season and they finished fourth. From the heats earlier in the week, France had recorded the fastest time and it was still anyone’s race as the boats went through the first 500m mark spread by just two seconds. Chile had a very small lead with Germany and France following closely. France’s Zelie Jacoulet and Fleur Vaucoret now had the lead, but it remained tight and Chile’s Magdalena Rojas and Antonia Heise was right with them.

Romania and Germany were keeping in touch. They had an extra race under their belts as they came to the final through the repechage. Coming into the final sprint France had a very slight lead over Chile with Italy, Germany and Romania all within striking distance of a medal. France took their stroke rate up to 34 as Chile continued to charge. Italy was at 38 and the finish line was in view. Five boats were in contention for a medal spot. It was so close at the finish. France took it by a bow ball over Chile with Germany coming through in third. What a finish!



The United States regularly feature in the A-final but today they were having a great race in the B-final with a hefty lead and just 500m rowed. Sophia Greco and Bridget Galloway of the United States continued to lead keeping at a 36 stroke rate. The margin between the US and Spain in second did not widen as Spain kept the pace on and tried to move on the United States.  The US remained aware of Spain who were able to close in the finish of the race but not catch.

Results: USA, ESP, SWE


Zelie Jacoulet (b), Fleur Vaucoret (s), Women’s Pair, France, 2021 World Rowing Junior Championships, Plovdiv, Bulgaria / World Rowing/Benedict Tufnell


Men’s pair (JM2-) – Final

Germany and Romania come into this final in the middle lanes after winning their respective semifinals yesterday. These two crews shot out together at the start with Canada and Bulgaria very much on the pace. Romania had a very slight lead even though Germany recorded the fastest time in the semis. Going through the middle of the race Andrei-Petrisor Axintoi and Iliuta-Leontin Nutescu of Romania continued to lead. But the lead remained slight with Germany holding a close second and Canada, Bulgaria and Norway all fighting it out for third.

As Romania pushed on, Germany was still in a solid second with Norway and Canada neck-and-neck for third. Bulgaria had slipped back and would need the crowd support to find their second wind. Romania and Germany were both at 36, Norway was at 39 and Canada at 37. It was still Romania in the lead. They had won. Germany’s Paul Martin and Kieran Holthues had scored the silver and Canada had an almighty sprint to get the bronze.



Italy was holding first at the start of this race, but they knew that they would have to keep an eye out for the United States. The US had the fastest qualifying time when they raced to fourth yesterday in the semifinals. Italy held off the United States. But then in the final sprint the US continued to come at the Italians. Italy rated higher and Ferdinando Cherchia and Federico Ceccarino of Italy got to the finish line just ahead of the US.



Women’s four (JW4-) – Final

For the Tokyo Olympics the women’s four returned as a boat class. This has seen a growth in the four and an increase in standards. Today these 24 women lined up to go after the championship title. From the heats France had the fastest time when they battled with the United States and they faced Italy who had won the other head. Greece came off the line at 47-48. Very early in the race it was France leading. Then Romania picked up the race and they were the first to the 500m mark. France and the United States followed very closely. But just two seconds separated the entire field and there was still 1500m to go.

Romania was settling at 37 stroke per minute. They had to race the repechage to get to this final and were maybe taking advantage of that extra race. Going through the middle of the race Romania’s Dinulescu, Guzran, Robitu and Ungurean still had the lead as the United States did a push bringing them through into second with France in third. The Romanians continued to charge and lead. The United States was in striking distance in second with Italy now overtaking France. The US went to 37 with Italy at 38 and France at 35. There were four boats in a very tight finish. Romania had done it in a time of 6:51. France grabbed silver with Italy in bronze. The United States had missed out on a medal by just 0.3 of a second.



A great swing and leg drive and a 36 stroke rate kept Canada in the lead. But Poland was right with them and it took right through to the finish line for the order to be sorted. Canada finished first with a huge sprint by Belarus giving them second over Poland.

Results: CAN, BLR, POL


Men’s four (JM4-) – Final

Greece and Spain got the direct path to this final after winning their respective heats – Spain with the fastest time. Italy came through the repechage and they had the early pace. But it was Spain that got to the 500m mark in first with Italy the closest challenger. Italy was at 39 and Spain at 37 to hold the two leading spots. Germany was in third. Spain’s Knabe, Moreno, Palomino and Pastor remained in front going through the middle of the race and had also broken away from Italy. Italy got overtaken by Germany.

Spain now broke away as Italy came back to take on Germany. The German has no answer to Itay’s passionate sprint. Italy had earned the silver with Germany getting bronze. Spain had rowed their best race and are now the World Champions.



Denmark came through as the fastest from the repechage and today they led from the start. Denmark settled into a 38 stroke rate pace to hold the lead over Poland who were challenging Denmark from their lane one position. Poland was at 35 and they managed to overtake Denmark. It looked like Poland had paced this race a lot better and they continued to lead with the race for third incredibly close. Poland controlled the final sprint and the United States used the crowd support to close on Denmark. The Danes just held on to second.



Women’s quadruple sculls (JW4x) – Final

Coming through from the heats Switzerland had the fastest time when they won heat two. Today they met the winner of heat one, Germany to go after the gold medal. Germany led for a moment at the start, then it was Switzerland. With 500m gone it was Switzerland crossing first with Italy and Germany right behind. Italy had a 2019 junior championship rower as well as a rower from this year’s under-23 championships. Switzerland continued to push on and their boat was moving the fastest as they headed to the half way point.

Switzerland’s Roth, Kuehn, Schmid and Ahumada Ireland was the first to the half way point rating 35 strokes per minute. Italy followed in second with Romania now in a very close third. Italy then upped their rating and went after Switzerland. Romania and Germany were neck-and-neck for the bronze as the final sprint came into view. The cow bells began to ring from the watching crowd. Switzerland did another push. There was nothing in it between Italy and Switzerland. It was another tight finish, no one could ease up. Switzerland held on. Italy grabbed silver and Germany outsprinted Romania to take bronze.



The Czech Republic has the lead at the start and they continued to lead through the middle of the race. Hungary slipped into second and Poland, Russia and Canada went neck-and-neck for third. The Czech Republic had set the fastest time of these crews in the repechage and they continued to lead. But only just. Hungary was closing on the Czechs as the final sprint came into view. Meanwhile Russia had dropped back with Poland and Canada battling it out for third. The Czechs went to 38 in the close of the race to stave off Hungary.

Results: CZE, HUN, POL, CAN, RUS


Thalia Ahumada Ireland (b), Nicole Schmid, Lina Kuehn, Olivia Roth (s), Women’s Quadruple Sculls, Switzerland, 2021 World Rowing Junior Championships, Plovdiv, Bulgaria / World Rowing/Benedict Tufnell


Men’s quadruple sculls (JM4x) – Final

The Czech Republic and Germany have the pedigree. Germany is the reigning World Champions and the Czech Republic hold the junior World Best Time. Germany and the Czechs won their respective semifinals yesterday and today they sat in the centre lanes. Germany jumped out quickly with Belarus and the Czech Republic right on the pace. Germany was at 36 with the Czechs in third place at 35. At the first 500m mark only two seconds separated the entire field.

Germany pushed on with Belarus the closest followers and the Czech Republic still in the picture. Germany then got a full boat length lead with the Czechs overtaking Belarus as the Italians charged. In the final sprint Italy moved up into second and the silver medal spot. Germany held on to the gold and the Czech Republic had to settle for bronze.



It was incredibly tight at the start with just two seconds separating all crews. Then Russia did a push and got ahead of Bulgaria and Belgium who were neck-and-neck for second. Russia settled at 36 strokes per minute to hold the lead. They then went to 37 to hold off the charging Bulgaria and Belgium. The crowd were chanting. Bulgaria was charging at the close of the race came into view. The commentators were beyond excited. Bulgaria had done an almighty sprint and taken first. A time of 5:59.81 was impressive.

Results: BUL, RUS, POL, UKR, ROU


Women’s double sculls (JW2x) – Final

This boat class started out with the most entries – 23 countries. Narrowed down to the final six, Ireland and Slovenia had won their respective semifinals yesterday. Ireland had the fastest time. Ireland kept their stroke rate high after the initial start and the crew of Holly Davis and Rachel Bradley got to the first 500m mark in the lead. France was in second and the Dutch in third. Ireland continued to lead. But France’s Gaia Chiavini and Jeanne Roche were coming. The French must have been energised by the recent Olympic win of the French men’s double and they were right on the Irish pace at the half way point.

France was now the fastest boat on the water. They were just at 33 strokes per minute, but they had the power to make the most of it. Greece and the Netherlands, meanwhile were battling it out for the third place spot. Both the Irish and Dutch went through the repechage to get to the semifinal. Now Greece was really moving. They took their stroke rate up as the final sprint came into view. The sprint was on. At the line it was incredibly close. The Netherlands – Lotta van Westreenen and Phaedra van der Molen – had grabbed the gold. France was in silver and Ireland just held on to the bronze.



Only five boats started as Belarus had to pull out for medical reasons. Taking off very quickly was Germany. The Germans had one of the slowed times from the semifinals so it was a surprise to see them in the lead with Lithuania coming through into second. Then Austria upped their rating to 36 and closed on Lithuania at 34. Daria Arnot and Charlotte Luster of Germany were moving at 35 strokes per minute to remain in the lead. It was very tight between Lithuania and Austria and the race was far from decided. At the line Germany held first with Lithuania sprinting into second.

Results: GER, LTU, CZE, CAN, AUT


Men’s double sculls (JM2x) – Final

Germany had the fastest time from yesterday’s semifinals. But was the French that rated the highest at the start to challenge the Germans. France had won their seminal and must have been well-prepared for today’s showdown. It was Germany’s Finn Staeblein and Adrian Groth that had a small early lead with France’s Samuel Arque and Martin Bauer in second. These two crews now moved away from the rest of the field with the remaining boat forming a practical line in their bid for the bronze medal.

At the half way point Germany had moved clean away from France with Italy now moving up to challenge the Arque and Bauer. But Ireland, Greece and Poland were all still within striking distance of a medal as they moved into the second half of the race. Italy had held 39 strokes per minute so far in the race with Greece and Ireland also rating high. In the final sprint Germany had an open water lead with France still in second and Greece looking to be the closest threat. The sprint was on to the line and Germany was not slowing down. They took gold leaving the battle for silver and bronze. It could go any way. France got the silver and a fabulous finish by Poland’s Kulka and Galeza gave them the bronze.



The Czech crews had only just missed out on the A-final through yesterday’s semifinals and they had a very small lead at the start. Just a second separated the top five boats with only Switzerland off the pace. At the half way point the Czech crew of Jakub Sprinzl and Ondrej Pecival was in the lead with Romania and Slovenia the closest challengers. The Czechs continued to hold off Romania by upping their stroke rate and charging for the line.



Women’s eight (JW8+) – Final

The United States had won the preliminary race on Friday, but today was the important one – the race for the medals. The Unites States sat in the middle of the field, but at the start it was Romania that moved the fastest. Romania, rating 40 strokes per minute, got to the first 500m mark just a fraction down on the United States. The Romanians finished at the very back of the field in Friday’s race. Were they foxing?

The United States then started to move clean away from Romania and the rest of the field. This boat had two returners from the 2019 junior crew that finished fourth. The US now had nearly a length lead over Romania with Spain, Italy and Germany in a practical line, all neck-and-neck for the bronze medal spot. Coming into the final sprint Germany had moved up and they had dropped Spain and Italy and were going after Romania. The US went to 40 strokes per minute to hold on to the lead and win gold. Germany had snatched silver with Romania having to settle for bronze.

Results: USA, GER, ROU, ITA, ESP


Men’s singles sculls (M1x) – Final

Yesterday’s semifinals showed that the heats had not been an anomaly for Isaiah Harrison of the United States. He won his semifinal and recorded the fastest time. At the very start it was a quick start for Germany who held 41 strokes per minute. This is Oliver Holtz of Germany’s first international regatta and he was just ahead of Lithuania with the USA right with them. They were heading for the half way point and Harrison had just pushed into the lead. Holtz reacted back in got his nose in front again. Lithuania’s Povilas Juskevicius was right with them with Belgium very much on the pace.

Going through the third 500 Harrison was at a 33 and Holtz at 35 and going stroke for stroke. The final sprint was coming up and Harrison had got back into the lead with Juskevicius still within striking distance. In the closing sprint Harrison managed to break away a little with Lithuania and Belgium both charging. Germany would have to hold on. Juskevicius kept on coming. Juskevicius had won! Aaron Andries of Belgium had flew through to silver with Harrison winning bronze. Holtz was out of the medals. A race that was decided by the final sprint.


Povilas Juskevicius, Men’s Single Sculls, Lithuania, 2021 World Rowing Junior Championships, Plovdiv, Bulgaria / World Rowing/Benedict Tufnell



It was the Netherlands out in first at the start with a great battle going on between Poland and the ever-improving Greece. By the middle of the race Lucas Keijzer of the Netherlands still had a very slight lead, but it was not enough to be comfortable – especially in a single. Greece and Poland were neck-and-neck for second and that pulled them closer and closer to Keijzer. The Dutch was doing a great job to hold them off. It was tight. Keijzer had won. Poland (Wozniak) was in second and Greece’s Exarchou in third.



Women’s single sculls (JW1x) – Final

Recording the fastest time in yesterday’s semifinals was Switzerland’s Aurelia-Maxima Janzen. The Swiss sculler is getting a reputation for playing by her own rules. She recently medalled at the World Rowing Under 23 Championships and she did it with macon blades – the old spoon-style blade that are now considered less efficient in how they take the catch. Today Janzen met France’s Mya Bosquet with Latvia’s Laine Rumpe also having a very fast time. Moving the fastest at the start was Janzen and she got to the 500m mark easily in the lead. Only Italy seemed to be in contention for the lead with Greece and Latvia battling for third.

Rating a very low 26 strokes per minute, Janzen continued to lead and by the middle of the race she had more than a boat length over Italy’s Giulia Clerici. Greece and Latvia battled it out for third. Greece’s Evangelia Fragkou has international experience, she medalled at the World Rowing Under 23 Championships last month and she also raced in the 2019 World Rowing Junior Championships. Janzen continued to lead with Clerici looking good for the silver and Fragkou looking good for bronze. Janzen had won. Clerici took silver and Fragkou took the bronze.



Rianne Lagerpusch of Germany had by far the fastest time of these scullers following yesterday’s semifinals and it was no surprise to see her in the lead. She rated a solid 32 strokes per minute for the majority of the race. Behind Lagerpusch was Paraguay with Turkey and Romania neck-and-neck for third. Paraguay’s Nicole Martinez continued to hold on to the German and in the final sprint Martinez looked to have timed this race perfectly. She overtook Germany and grabbed first.



Men’s eight (JM8+) – Final

Germany and the United States won their respective heats on Thursday. They did it in really similar times and they met today for the first time to race for the medals. There was a slight delay at the start as the boots that hold the boats had to be reset. This made for quite a tense build up before they all got away cleanly. The United States were at 41 with Belarus leading at 40. Germany was almost even with Belarus as the United States followed closely in third. Germany continued to lead as they headed to the middle of the race. Then the United States put their bow ahead.

At the half way point the United States had a very small lead over Germany with these two boats now a full length ahead of the rest of the field. Russia had now overtaken Belarus and moved into third. The United States were at 37 and led Germany, but only slightly. The US then went to 38 and they looked to be breaking away from Germany. Russia was now moving up on Germany as the boats came into the final sprint.

The US had an open water advantage and already looked like the gold medallists. The United States had won. Germany held on to silver and the bronze went to Russia.



Three boats fought it out with all three neck-and-neck at the start. Then Hungary managed to get a small break with the Czech Republic in second and Ukraine back a bit in third. Hungary continued to charge on. Thy had missed out on the A-final through the repechage by just three seconds. They had a comfortable win.

Results: HUN, CZE, UKR