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2015 World Rowing Championships wrap

7 September 2015

ROWING: The 2015 World Rowing Championships concluded on Sunday with Australia qualifying seven boats (W1x, M2x, W2x, M4x, W4x, M2- and M4-) for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, as well as collecting one World Championship title and two silver medals.

Kim Crow was crowned World Champion in the women’s single scull on the final day of the 2015 Championships held in Aiguebelette, France.

The Victorian-born single sculler replicated the winning form she displayed throughout the regatta to reclaim the title she won in 2013 in Chungju, South Korea.

Facing off against a strong field featuring China, Canada, Switzerland, USA and 2012 Olympic Champion, Mirka Knapkova of the Czech Republic, Crow dominated her race to lead from start to finish in blustery conditions. Crossing the line in 7 minutes 38 seconds, Crow was followed by Knapkova and Jingli Duan of China.

The men’s coxless four and quadruple scull collected silver medals in their A-Finals and in doing so booked berths for their boats at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

David Watts, Cameron Girdlestone, Karsten Forsterling and David Crawshay qualified the quadruple scull for the 2016 Olympic Games earlier in the week after making the A-Final and were hoping their strong form would see them push for a podium finish.

All the crews sped out of the start, with favourites Germany taking an early lead, as the Swiss, Estonians and Australians kept on their tail. As the race progressed and the crews got into the full swing of things, the Germans went from a stroke rate of 38 to 41, with Australia doing everything they possibly could to chase them down as Watts upped Australia’s rate to as high as 43.

As the crews reached the final 200 metres the Germans proved too strong, with Australia snapping up second and Estonia in third.

Also securing Rio qualification after qualifying a spot in the A-Final was the men’s four of Alex Hill, Spencer Turrin, Josh Dunkley-Smith and Will Lockwood.

The Aussies lined up against crews from Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Netherlands and Canada in the final, and it was the Italians who took the lead at the start.

At the 500 metre mark Australia pushed ahead and held the lead in the middle of the race before Italy upped its stroke rate to surge ahead as they approached the 1500 metre buoys.

With the crowd going wild the Italians edged the Australians out to take the gold with Simon Cox’s crew taking silver and Great Britain bronze.

The men’s pair of Nick Wheatley and Jack Hargreaves finished sixth in their A-Final, with their boat already qualified for Rio by virtue of finishing in the top 11 of the event. The crew, who won silver medals in the same event at under-23 level both this year and last , were up against the reigning World and Olympic champions New Zealand as well as Italy, Serbia, Great Britain and the Netherlands.

Madeleine Edmunds, Kerry Hore, Jennifer Cleary and Jessica Hall took on the Olympic and 2014 World Champions Germany in their women’s quadruple scull A-Final, needing a fifth place or higher to qualify for Rio. Joining the two favourite crews were USA, Netherlands, Poland and New Zealand.

With USA sewing up gold, Germany silver and Netherlands bronze, it was fourth for Poland and fifth place for the Australians, who claimed the last Olympic qualification berth for the class for the Rio 2016 Games.

The men’s double scull of Alexander Belonogoff and James McRae also secured Olympic qualification for their boat. The crew coached by Rhett Ayliffe were drawn in a tough A-Final up against reigning World Champions the Sinkovic brothers as well as Lithuania, Germany, New Zealand and France.

Predictably the Sinkovic brothers went out hard and led the race from start to finish and the battle ensued for the remaining podium places. The Australians were out of luck though with Lithuania and New Zealand taking silver and bronze while the Australians finished in fifth.

Despite narrowly missing out on qualifying for the A-Final, the women’s double scull Sally Kehoe and Olympia Aldersey lined up in the B-Final, needing a fifth place or higher to secure Rio qualification.

The girls were up against crews from Czech Republic, USA, China, Belarus and France.

At the halfway mark the Australians were leading but the Chinese crew of Weiwei Zhu and Yuwei Wang began to make their move and by the 1500 metre mark they had claimed the lead and then the French and Belarussians dug deep to push past the Australians to snap up silver and bronze. Kehoe and Aldersey did however claim a top 11 finish to become the seventh boat to qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games for Australia

The women’s pair, women’s lightweight double scull and men’s and women’s eights narrowly missed out on securing Olympic qualification, falling just outside the allocated quota places for World Championships.

Genevieve Horton and Molly Goodman competed in the C-Final of the women’s pair, leading the race from start to finish to ensure they finished in a time of 7:15:84, which now sees them ranked 13th in the world.

In the eights, both the men’s and women’s crews had to finish in the top two out of five starters in their repechages to advance to the A-final and keep alive their hopes of booking their boats a start in Rio.

However, neither crew were able to secure a spot in the A-Final.

The men's crew finished fourth, almost 10 seconds behind second-placed New Zealand who were just behind the Netherlands.

The women were in contention at the 1000m halfway mark, but faded to come in fifth with Great Britain and Russia moving through to the final, where the top five out six were assured an Olympics berth.

The B-Final of the women’s eight saw Australia face off Germany, China and Romania, with the Aussies claiming second place and are now ranked eighth in the world.

The B-Final of the men’s eight featured Spain, USA, Poland, France and China. The Australians, coxed by David Webster, were fourth at the 500 metre mark but pushed their way through to take third and sat there till the conclusion of the race. The Australian crew concluded the regatta ranked ninth overall. 

Alice McNamara and Ella Flecker in the lightweight women's double scull finished fourth in their quarter-final, putting them just outside the required top 11 placings for Olympic qualification. Flecker and McNamara finished in second in their D-Final.

Australia's chance to qualify their two big boats and women’s pair and lightweight double scull for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games will be a top-two at the final qualification regatta in Lucerne, Switzerland next May.

In the Non-Olympic boat classes, the lightweight women’s quadruple scull were aiming to replicate, if not better, their 2014 World Rowing Championships silver medal.  

However, at the 1500 metre mark the British moved through the Australians to take second, while the 2014 World Champions, The Netherlands, gave it one last push in the final 500 metres to take the bronze medal leaving Australia to finish fourth overall.

The lightweight men’s pair were up against an inform Great Britain in their A-Final. Darryn Purcell and Nick Silcox were fourth at the halfway mark however the British, French and Germans proved to be the top three crews, while Australia dropped back to sixth at the conclusion of the race.

In the lightweight single sculls, Tim McDonnell finished fifth in the men’s D-Final, while Georgia Nesbitt finished second in her B-Final.



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