Olena Buryak, Women's 500m, Ukraine, 2020 World Rowing Indoor Championships, Paris, France

The 2023 World Rowing Indoor Championships, presented by Concept 2, are going hybrid for the first time and kick off in just over a week. With an impressive entry of 1 600 athletes, there will certainly be excellent racing to watch, in-person in Mississauga, or at home. Here are the Rowers to watch.


Oliver Zeidler (GER)

2019 World Rowing Indoor Championships, Long Beach, USA

He’s back! The reigning World Rowing Champion in the Men’s Single Sculls will be competing in-person in Toronto. Oliver Zeidler pursued swimming as his initial sporting career with cross training on the Concept2 about once a week. His extraordinary talent on the indoor rower was clear and he converted to rowing in 2017, following in his family’s footsteps. Zeidler reputedly pulled a 5:52 in training on his first 2000m test! He went on to become the sixth man under 5:40 with a 5:38.7 at the age of 21 on 7 April 2018. He won the World Rowing Indoor title in 2019, and has not competed Indoor internationally since – he is back and will look for nothing less than the gold medal.

Felipe Kluver Ferreira (URU)

For the first time ever, a Uruguayan rower was crowned World Rowing Champion last year. Not only once, but twice! Felipe Kluver Ferreira is the reigning World Rowing Indoor Champion in the Lightweight Under 23 category – a title that helped him capture, later in the season, a gold medal at the 2023 World Rowing Under 23 Championships in Varese. The expectations are now sky high for Kluver Ferreira, who also made it to the A-Final of the Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games, and will compete in the Lightweight Men 21-22 category.

Jakub Podrazil (CZE)

In 2020, at the European Rowing Indoor Championships, Jakub Podrazil came oh-so-close to the magic 5:40 mark for the 2000m race. His time (5:42.3) shows how strong the Czech rower is on the rowing machine. On the water he has medalled in the Men’s Pair at various World Rowing Cups, and is currently the anchor of the Czech Men’s Double Sculls, that finished 10th at the last World Rowing Championships – Podrazil is a natural on the erg and will certainly be amongst the favourites. He will be competing remotely.

Cameron Wharram (CAN)

Phill Clapp vs Cameron Wharram, take 2! While the reigning World Champion on the 500m distance, Phill Clapp, will be competing from home in the United Kingdom, all eyes will be on the local favourite, Cameron Wharram, in Toronto. The former powerlifter is one of the best erg sprinters in the world – last year, he qualified for the Virtual Indoor Championships with a time of 1:11.9, only to lose the race by 0.3 seconds to Clapp – and will look to win on home soil. It will be no easy task to beat the three-time reigning World Rowing Indoor Champion – but the energy of the crowd may give just enough energy to Wharram to get to the line first.

Martino Goretti (ITA)

On the startline, there will be few people with more medals attached to their resumé than Martino Goretti. The lightweight rower from Italy, World Champion in the Lightweight Men’s Single Sculls in 2019, has had some great results at the World Rowing Indoor Championships before, with a silver medal in 2019, a bronze in 2020 and another silver medal at the Virtual Indoor Championships in 2021.  He will try to beat the two-time gold medallist in this event, Florian Roller from Germany, who will compete virtually.



Olena Buryak (UKR)

Olena Buryak, Women’s 500m, Ukraine, 2020 World Rowing Indoor Championships, Paris, France

The best in the business. Olena Buryak might just be the best indoor rower on the planet – whoever has any doubt about it can check her scores, and will quickly run out of arguments. World Champion in 2019 and 2020, absent in 2021, she could not compete last year because of the war in her home country. She is back this year and will be competing virtually, from Ukraine, and will certainly want to prove that she is still unbeatable on the erg.

Sydney Payne (CAN)

Two Tokyo 2020 Olympic champions will be competing at the 2023 WRICH. Alongside teammate Kasia Gruchalla-Wesierski, Sydney Payne will be one of the top names to watch. She is one of the anchors of the ever-so successful Women’s Eight that won gold in Tokyo, and a bronze medal at the 2022 World Rowing Championships in Czech Republic. She is also one of the most accessible, friendly athletes to be around – a role model for lots of young rowers. And by the way, one of the fastest on the indoor rowing machine.

Hela Belhaje Mohamed (TUN)

“I like rowing, it makes me feel free, especially when there are waves. It feels like an adventure”. A gold medallist in 2021 and 2022 at the World Rowing Beach Sprint Finals, Hela Belhaje Mohamed of Tunisia is embarking in a different kind of adventure with her participation at the World Rowing Indoor Championships. The young rower out of Tunis, Tunisia will try again to prove that she can be a great athlete across all disciplines of Rowing – she finished 8th last year in the Under 19 category for the 2000m event, and will look to improve on what was a very encouraging performance.

Sonja Peltola (FIN)

She is the perfect example of the rise of indoor rowing in Finland. Sonja Peltola is a pure force on the erg, having set world records right after the pandemic – and since then, she hasn’t stop competing, and winning medals. The most recent example was her presence at the 2023 European Rowing Indoor Championships in Paris, where she won a gold medal in the Women’s 30-39 category on the 500m distance and a silver medal in the relay event. She will be competing from her gym in Finland, but she is one of the names to watch on that 500m distance.



Giacomo Perini (ITA)

What a debut it was for Giacomo Perini on the international scene last year. The para-rower from Italy made his debut in the PR1 Men’s Single Sculls last year, and managed to win gold at the 2022 World Rowing Cup II and the European Rowing Championships – plus a silver medal at the World Rowing Championships. Perini is now giving it a go at the World Rowing Indoor Championships, where he will be the favorite to add a gold medal to his impressive start.

Birgit Skarstein (NOR)

She is probably the best para-rower of all time. Unbeaten since 2016, reigning Paralympic champion, five-time World Rowing Champion, World Best Time holder… there’s just no stopping Birgit Skarstein in the PR1 Women’s Single Sculls. She did compete in 2021 at the Virtual Indoor Championships – and guess what, she won the gold medal there too. It is safe to say that she will be the top name to watch in that boat class.