Martin Sinkovic (b), Valent Sinkovic (s), Men's Double Sculls, Croatia, 2022 World Rowing Championships, Racice, Czech Republic / Detlev Seyb/MyRowingPhoto.com

There was an incredible six photo finishes on day four of the 2022 World Rowing Championships in Racice, Czech Republic. With no rain and very little wind, crews enjoyed good racing conditions.  The session began with repechages in the Para Boat Classes and then progressed to quarterfinals for some of the boat classes with large number of entries.

Reigning World Champion and Olympic Champion Beaten

With 40 entries in the men’s single sculls, it was the first boat class to have quarterfinals and we saw all sorts of interesting results! Germany’s Oliver Zeidler is the reigning World Champion (from 2019) but was beaten today by Melvin Twellaar of the Netherlands, who recently became European Champion. Meanwhile, in the second quarter final, British sculler Graeme Thomas, beat the Olympic Champion Stefanos Ntouskos of Greece. In that same race, there was a photo finish to decide the third sculler to progress to the semifinals with Australia’s Jack Cleary getting the better of Slovenian Filip-Matej Pfeifer by just 0.04 seconds. New Zealander Jordan Parry clocked a respectable 6:53.57 to win the third quarterfinal while a nearly similar time was achieved by Norway’s Olympic silver medalist in the fourth quarterfinal, Kjetil Borch, winning in 6:53.14. The top three from each of these quarterfinals will now progress to semifinals on Friday.

Exciting semis lined up for lightweight men’s single sculls

We saw close winning times across the four quarterfirnals of the lightweight men’s single sculls so expect to see some exciting racing in the semifinals tomorrow. Greece’s Antonios Papakonstantinou became World U23 Champion in this boat class and is now hoping to do it at senior level. He recently became European Rowing Champion and his time today of 7:02.88 indicates he has the potential. His time was only marginally beaten by Italy’s Gabriel Soares (7:02.32). Soares took silver at the recent European Championships though so we know the Greek can beat him.

Tight margins in lightweight men’s double sculls

The lightweight boat classes always provide close racing and today was no exception. In the first quarterfinal, there as just 0.04 second to decide which crews qualified for the semifinals with Poland being the wrong side of the line on this occasion. Olympic bronze medalists Pietro Ruta and Stefano Oppo from Italy had done just enough. The photo finish camera was in action again in the second quarterfinal. Norway’s Lars Benske and Ask Jarl Tjoem took the win, but they were only 0.06 seconds ahead of Portugal. There was no photo finish required in the third quarterfinal when we saw the Olympic Champions and reigning World Champions from Ireland comfortably win. Fintan McCarthy and Paul O’Donovan clocked 06:21.05, which may not have been the fastest time across the four quarterfinals, but we feel there might be a bit more to come in the next rounds! The fourth quarterfinal was just as close – whilst Switzerland secured a reasonably comfortable win, just 0.09 seconds split 3rd and 4th places with New Zealand securing progression to the semifinals ahead of Mexico.

Olympic Champions clock fastest time in men’s double sculls

After the excitement of the lightweight men’s double sculls, focus moved to the openweights. Racing went fairly true to form and was much less closer than the lightweight doubles and the finish times generally slower too. Australians David Bartholot and Caleb Antill had a convincing win in the first quarterfinal, clocking 6:21.59. In quarterfinal 2, Spain’s Aleix Garcia Pujolar and Rodrigo Conde Romero also had a fairly comfortable victory, finishing in a time of 6:26.82. There was no surprises seeing Martin and Valent Sinkovic achieving yet another win in the third quarterfinal, their time was 6:21.49. The race was close behind them though as the remaining crews looked to secure an all-important top three finish. Moldova took second place, just 0.32 seconds ahead of Italy. Serbia, who finished fourth at the recent European Rowing Championships, missed out on qualification for the semifinals. The Olympic Champions from last year were back in action in the fourth quarterfinal and took the win with the fastest time across the quarterfinals, 6:20.58, but the USA was right on their tail. Behind, them, the photo finish camera came into action again as Norway pipped Ireland to the line by just 0.03 seconds. 

Photo finish for reps too!

Once the quarterfinals were over, we thought the photo finish camera might get a break, but it was back in use for repechage 1 of the women’s double sculls. China finished 0.07 seconds ahead of France to progress through to the semifinals which will take place on Friday. The second quarterfinal was also close with 0.3 seconds between Switzerland in second place and Canada in third. Both crews will progress along with rep winners, Germany.

First semifinals and finals completed

Today’s racing session concluded with the first semifinals (E/F) – for the men’s single sculls, and then the first Finals (E) for the lightweight men’s single sculls and double sculls, racing for places 25+. Georgia’s Giorgi Kanteladze took the honours in the lightweight men’s single sculls whilst the lightweight men’s double sculls saw a win for Sobirjon Safaroliyev and Shakhzod Nurmatov of Uzbekistan. 


Racing resumes tomorrow, 22 September, at 9:30 CET. You can find the full programme on worldrowing.com


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