Aleix Garci Garcia Pujolar (b), Rodrigo Conde Romero (s), Men's Double Sculls, Spain, Silver, 2022 World Rowing Championships, Racice, Czech Republic / Detlev Seyb/MyRowingPhoto.com

The last day of the 2022 World Rowing Championships saw medals awarded in eight more boat classes. After a series of highly competitive B finals, the A finals got underway and new World Rowing Champions were crowned at the Labe Arena in Racice, Czech Republic.

PR1 Men’s Single Sculls (PR1 M1x) – A-Final 

Kicking off the last session of finals was the PR1 men’s single sculls. The European Champion, Giacomo Perini of Italy got out quickest with Great Britain’s Ben Pritchard looking to go with him. Last year’s Paralympic Champion Roman Polianskyi and Paralympic silver medalist Erik Horrie were also still well in the mix. The field begun to spread as the race entered the second quarter with the leading trio of Perini, Pritchard and Polianskyi breaking away. You could tell Perini knew he was going to be put under pressure. With 500m to go, Poilianskyi was really starting to challenge Perini at the front of the field with Pritchard sitting in third and then significant clear water back to the remaining three scullers including the well-decorated Horrie. Inside the final 500m, the race was on for gold! Polianskyi drew level with Perini and then went through. Pritchard was attacking too. A brilliant finish for the medalists!


PR1 Women’s Single Sculls (PR1 W1x) – A-Final

Eyes were on Norway’s Birgit Skarstein as reigning World Champion, and Paralympic Champion, but it was Ukraine’s Anna Sheremet that was fastest out of the start. French athlete Nathalie Benoit soon established a lead and, in the early stages, there was very little between the top three with Skarstein reaching the 500m marker less than half a second ahead of Benoit and Sheremet sitting in bronze medal position. Sheremet had moved ahead of Benoit by halfway and the field was beginning to open up. With 500m left to go, it was looking like Skarstein would be able to defend her title as she had established a strong lead of nearly five seconds. Meanwhile, Benoit and Sheremet had traded places again so the race was on for the silver medal! Benoit had just that little bit extra in the tank and it was another World silver medal for her, while Sheremet went one better than her fourth place in 2019. For Skarstein, it is a World Championship Best Time, by almost six seconds.


 Men’s Double Sculls (M2x) – A-Final

This boat class was all set for a showdown. Croatia’s Sinkovic brothers flew off the start at 55 strokes per minute and while Spain’s Aleix Garcia Pujolar and Rodrigo Conde Romero took the initial lead, the Olympic Champions from France, Hugo Boucheron and Matthieu Androdias very quickly moved through and were at the front by 500m, sitting ahead of Australians David Bartholot and Caleb Antill and the Spanish duo. The Sinkovic’s were still in fifth place. With 500m left to go, what could Martin and Valent were still outside of the medal zone. Could the crowd make the critical difference? It wasn’t enough. The Olympic champions from France had gone significantly better than their ninth place finish at the 2019 World Championships. Meanwhile, the Australians sprinted to the line but were held off by the Spaniards. However, for Bartholot and Antill, it was step on from their twelfth place at the last World Rowing Championships. The fifth place for Moldova was also a fantastic performance.  A race that would go down in history, for sure.


Women’s Double Sculls (W2x) – A-Final

Germany’s Frauke Hundeling and Pia Greiten had a very fast start but the Olympic Champions Simona Radis and Ancuta Bodnar soon established the lead, Radis in her first of two finals of the afternoon. By the 500m, the Dutch scullers Roos de Jong and Laila Youssifou were sat in second, narrowly ahead of  Hundeling and Greiten. Ireland and Austria were also still well within the mix so it was far too early to call. By halfway, Ireland’s Sanita Puspure and Zoe Hyde had moved into bronze medal position, but the Austrian sisters, Magdalena and Katharina Lobnig were going with them. Hundeling and Greiten had faded. Radis and Bodnar sculled to a strong win, bettering their silver from the 2019 World Rowing Championships. The Dutch held on to silver and it was bronze for Ireland.


Men’s Eight (M8+) – A-Final

One of the most-anticipated finals of the Championships was on the start. Romania flew out of the blocks at 50 strokes per minute to try to establish a lead, but Great Britain soon had their noses in front, still up at 40 strokes per minute 250m into the race. By 500m, GB was leading ahead of Australia with the Netherlands sitting in third. By halfway, GB had a narrow lead over Australia with the Netherlands still in third and the USA, Canada and Romania still not far behind. With 500m to go, Great Britain had opened slightly more of a lead whilst the Dutch eight had moved in front of Australia. It was all still unbelievably close and the noise from the crowds was increasing. Approaching the line, the Netherlands was attacking Great Britain hard and the British eight had increased the rating to 41 strokes per minute. Meanwhile, Australia were under significant pressure from the USA. Canada and Romania were still very close behind. The men’s eight final had not disappointed!


Women’s Single Sculls (W1x) – A-Final 

The Dutch sensation Karolien Florijn, who has had such a successful season, was the first to make a showing but Australia’s Tara Rigney and the Olympic Champion, Emma Twigg, of New Zealand, were going with her.  At halfway, Florijn had the narrowest of leads with Kiwi Emma Twigg now having moved into silver medal position – she would be wanting to better her World silver medal from 2019 but would have to overhaul Florijn first. Meanwhile, behind the top three, there was just a couple of seconds separating China’s Shiyu Lu and Great Britain’s Hannah Scott. Approaching 500m to go, Florijn was trying to open up clear water at the front of the field, ahead of Twigg whilst Rigney was coming under pressure from Lu. It was going to be a race for the line. Florijn looked set for gold and now Twigg also looked set to repeat her silver medal from 2019, but Rigney was really being challenged by Lu. Rigney managed to hold on, but only just.


Men’s Single Sculls (M1x) – A-Final

40 entries had been narrowed down to six finalists and the crowds were hoping for a repeat of the showdown that this boat class provided in 2019. European Champion Melvin Twellaar of the Netherlands went out like a rocket to try and establish an early lead but reigning World Champion Oliver Zeidler of Germany moved through to lead by 250 and was still there at 500m when Norway’s Olympic silver medalist, Kjetil Borch was in second and Great Britain’s Graeme Thomas in bronze medal position. By halfway, New Zealander Jordan Parry had moved ahead of Thomas, but it was still so close. It was an impressive move by Parry but could he hold on? Twellaar was also back in the medal zone, so it was all to play for. In the sprint to the line, Thomas had come back into bronze medal position, ahead of Parry – what a turnaround! Parry was up at 45 strokes per minute, Thomas at 43, and Thomas was holding off Parry’s attack every stroke. Meanwhile, Borch had faded and was back in fifth place whilst last year’s Olympic Champion, Stefanos Ntouskos of Greece was crossing the line last. It was redemption for Zeidler after disappointment at the European Championships, and he would defend his title as World Champion.


Women’s Eight (W8+) – Final

The last race of the 2022 World Rowing Championships was underway! These crews had all raced each other earlier in the week in the preliminary race, but would the positions stay the same? Romania was first to the 500m, the crew featuring Simona Radis, who had already won a gold medal just an hour earlier in the double scull. However, there was less than a second dividing the top four crews with Canada in second, the Netherlands in third and the USA in fourth. At halfway, Canada was leading the Netherlands, but only by 0.28 seconds . With 500m to go, Romania was looking dominant, but the silver medal definitely wasn’t set and was going to be a race to the line between the Netherlands and Canada. The Dutch boat, with several rowers having doubled up, had more to give and won the sprint to the line over last year’s Olympic Champions, Canada. The USA was also sprinting to the line, but had to settle for fourth. It was a second World Championship title for Simona Radis in the space of just over an hour.


The ‘Grand Finale’

With the crowd still recovering from some epic racing, they were treated to one more showdown, a race of legends! Three-time Olympic medallist and five-time World Rowing Champion Ondrej Synek retired last year and to honour him, World Rowing and the Organising Committee of the 2022 World Rowing Championships arranged a short exhibition race with  five of his main rivals but also true legends and close friends from the last two decades. On the start line was; Ondrej Synek (CZE), Alan Campbell (GBR), Olaf Tufte (NOR), Mahe Drysdale (NZL), Iztok Cop (SLO), and Lassi Karonen (SWE). It was another exciting race but, on this occasion, there could only be one winner. Congratulations on amazing career, Ondrej!

Result: CZE, Everyone else