Adrian Juhasz (b), Bela Simon (s), Men's Pair, Hungary, 2022 World Rowing Championships, Racice, Czech Republic / Detlev Seyb/MyRowingPhoto.com

The iconic city of Szeged in Hungary is getting ready for an intense four days of racing. The 2024 European Rowing Championships, and the World Rowing European Olympic and Paralympic Qualification Regatta, will be held at the Szeged National Canoeing and Rowing Olympic Centre from 25 to 28 April.

The 2024 European Rowing Championships have attracted entries from 30 European nations, with 476 rowers competing for the title of European Rowing Champion.
European Rowing Championships have been staged since 1893, and are one of the longest running sport championships on the international calendar. After a hiatus, it was reinstated in 2007, and for this first time in 2018, was part of a multi-sport event. The European Rowing Championships are open to the 46 European national rowing federations, including Israel.

At last year’s European Rowing Championships regatta in Bled, Slovenia, Great Britain finished at the top of the medals table, ahead of Romania and the Netherlands.
The largest number of entries is coming in the Men’s Single Sculls, with 19 entries. Strong competition is expected between the reigning Olympic champion, Stefanos Ntouskos of Greece, and the reigning World champion, Oliver Zeidler of Germany, who just won gold at the 2024 World Rowing Cup I. In the mix will also be Olympic silver medallist Damir Martin of Croatia, Sverri Nielsen of Denmark, and George Bourne of Great Britain. The presence of Paul O’Donovan, the reigning Olympic Champion in the Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls, will be very interesting to watch at this stage of the season.

In the absence of the reigning World and European Champion, Karolien Florijn, the title in Women’s Single Sculls seems to be up for grabs. Alex Foester of Germany just won a silver medal at World Cup I and has the strongest pedigree of the field, but Desislava Angelova of Bulgaria, Viktorija Senkute of Lithuania, and Jovana Arsic of Serbia have all qualified for the Olympics and can challenge the German for the win. Watch out too for the two-time World Rowing Under 23 Champion Andrada-Maria Morosanu of Romania, making her debut in the single on the international scene.

The Men’s Pair will be a hotly contested event with 17 entries. Included in the line-up are the reigning Olympic champions from Croatia, Martin and Valent Sinkovic. But there will face the reigning World Champions, Roman Roeoesli and Andrin Gulich of Switzerland, the recent World Cup I winners; Ollie Wynne-Griffith and Tom George of Great Britain; as well as entries from Spain, Italy, Germany, Lithuania and many more.

The Women’s Double Sculls will see the return of the reigning Olympic and World champions, Ancuta Bodnar and Simona Radis, who are unbeaten in this boat class since the 2019 World Rowing Championships. The only crew that pushed them to the limit was the Lithuanian combination of Dovile Rimkute and Donata Karaliene at last year’s European Championships. Can the Lithuanian crew beat the unbeatables?

In the Men’s Eight, Great Britain will be facing Germany and Italy, whom they beat at the recent World Cup I in Varese, but also Romania, who came second to Great Britain by 0.05 seconds at last year’s Europeans and will be looking for revenge.

In the Para-rowing boat classes, all eyes will be on Birgit Skarstein of Norway, who rides an unbelievable 32-races winning streak at World, European, and Paralympic rowing events in the PR1 Women’s Single Sculls. The PR1 Men’s Single Sculls sees the return of reigning World and Paralympic champion, Roman Polianskyi of Ukraine, facing reigning European Champion Giacomo Perini of Italy.

Szeged will also host as a separate event, the World Rowing European Olympic and Paralympic Qualification Regatta (EOPQR). Fifty-one athletes will look to qualify for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, in four Olympic boat classes (the Men’s and Women’s Single Sculls and Lightweight Double Sculls) and two Paralympic boat classes (the PR1 Men’s and Women’s Single Sculls).

Alexandra Foester, Women’s Single Sculls, Germany, Magdalena Lobnig, Women’s Single Sculls, Austria, 2023 World Rowing Championships, Belgrade, Serbia © Detlev Seyb / MyRowingPhoto.com

 In the Men’s Single Sculls, three qualifying spots are up for grabs. The favourites are Kristian Vasilev of Bulgaria and Nikolaj Pimenov of Serbia, who both just missed out on direct qualification at last year’s World Championships. Watch out too for Tim Brys of Belgium who just competed in the A-Final at the 2024 World Rowing Cup I, and finished shy of the podium.

The Women’s Single Sculls has 12 entries for three spots available. Diana Dymchenko of Azerbaijan and Yevheniia Dovhodko of Ukraine both carry lots of international experience. Tatsiana Klimovich, competing as an Individual Neutral Athlete (AIN), just missed out on a qualification spot last year. Watch out too for up-and-coming scullers, such as Mazarine Guilbert of Belgium or Elis Ozbay of Turkiye.

In the Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls, the two available quota places will be contested by nine crews – and it will be hard to overlook Vyvey and Van Zandweghe of Belgium, who missed out on a qualification spot by only two seconds last year. They will be challenges by Khmara and Kovalov of Ukraine, and the Duarte Costa brothers of Portugal. On the women’s side, there will be five crews competing for two spots – and while Poland has the pedigree to qualify, the second spot looks to be hotly contested between Austria and Denmark.

Both the PR1 Men’s and Women’s single sculls will offer one qualifying spot. On the men’s side, Zsolt Peto, racing on home waters, will be favourite – so will be Ebba Einarsson of Sweden in a three-boat race on the women’s side.

Unfortunately, the PR3 Mixed Double Sculls event cannot take place due to only one boat entered – and therefore, the event being cancelled. The quota place will be reallocated via the Bipartite Commission Invitation method, and therefore no boat will qualify in the PR3 Mixed Double Sculls in this qualification regatta.

Racing begins on Thursday 25 April at 8:30 CET with the EOPQR events, and continues with the heats of the European Championships, starting at 9.45 CET. Semifinals and finals  will take place on Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 April 2024. The 2024 European Rowing Championships A-Finals on Saturday and Sunday will be live streamed on www.worldrowing.com.

Entries and regatta information can be found at worldrowing.com.