Day 2: Historic first gold for a rower from Hong Kong

Timon Wernas Allgemein, Articles

29 races were on the schedule for the second day of the LUCERNE REGATTA. The weather was more stable than the previous day, providing athletes with extremely fair conditions for the fiercely contested semifinals. In the first medal races of this year’s LUCERNE REGATTA, Hong Kong sensationally secured its first gold medal on the World Rowing stage.

While conditions on the first competition day of the second destination of the Rowing World Cup in Lucerne were challenging with wind, waves, and rain, Saturday saw the typical ideal rowing conditions for the Rotsee. The early morning was still cool, but temperatures became increasingly pleasant, and the water was perfect. The schedule included mainly semifinals, the last repechages, C and D finals, as well as the finals of the non-Olympic lightweight categories and three Para events.

Favorites Show Their Best Form

In the men’s single sculls, the athletes with the greatest potential competed together in the first semifinal. Oliver Zeidler controlled the race throughout, leaving the Dutchman Simon van Dorp and the New Zealander Thomas Mackintosh behind. In the women’s events, Karolien Florijn (Netherlands) and veteran Emma Twigg (New Zealand) dominated their heats impressively.

In the men’s double sculls repechage, four final spots were awarded. The Italians Rambaldi/Sartori and the resurgent French Olympic champions Boucheron/Androdias showed their best form. For the women, the Irish duo Hyde/Bergin, the Norwegians Helseth/Kavle, and the Australians Bateman/Hudson are the top contenders for podium spots on Sunday.

In the women’s pair semifinals, the Dutch duo Clevering/Meesters and the Australians Morrison/McIntyre established themselves as favorites, while in the men’s pair, the victory seems likely to come down to the British team Wynne-Griffith/George or the Swiss duo Gulich/Röösli.

In the lightweight men’s double sculls, the Irish team O’Donovan/McCarthy, the Italians Soares/Oppo, and the Swiss team Ahumada/Schäuble will likely battle for the win on Sunday. In the women’s event, the British duo Craig/Grant and the American pair Sechser/Reckford are expected to duel for the victory.

In the large boats, only the men’s four had repechages, while the quadruple sculls and eights had lane allocation races on Friday due to the small number of entries.

Most Successful Rowing Nations

The semifinals, mostly held on Saturday but some on Friday, saw the following nations as the most successful: the Netherlands with 10 A-final qualifications, Great Britain with 9, Australia with 8, and the USA and New Zealand each with 7. The Swiss national team has four boats in the finals on Sunday.

First Final Decisions

The first decisions in the non-Olympic lightweight boat classes were made on Saturday. In the women’s single sculls, Ireland’s Siobhan McCrohan won, ahead of American Sophia Luwis and Briton Olivia Bates. In the men’s event, the unexpected happened: Hong Kong’s Hin Chun won, marking a sensational first for the small rowing nation from the Far East. France’s Baptiste Savaete came second, and Italy’s Patrick Rocek finished third. Three Para events also concluded, with gold medals going to Ukraine (twice) and Italy.

The Second Day of Competition from a Swiss Perspective

The day’s races began with the Para-rowers in the single sculls. Swiss athlete Claire Ghiringhelli secured her place in Sunday’s final with a third-place finish in the PR1W1X semifinal.

In the men’s pair, reigning world champions Andrin Gulich and Roman Röösli faced their major rivals from Great Britain, Oliver Wynne-Griffith and Tom George, in their heat. The British duo won decisively, with the Swiss team seemingly saving their energy for the final.

Raphaël Ahumada and Jan Schäuble secured their place in the lightweight men’s double sculls final in commanding fashion. They left their Irish arch-rivals, reigning Olympic and world champions Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy, far behind.

The Swiss men’s four with Kai Schätzle, Patrick Brunner, Tim Roth, and Joel Schürch, consistently in third place from start to finish in their repechage, failed to secure one of the two available spots for the final.

In the women’s single sculls, Aurelia-Maxima Janzen had to settle for last place in her semifinal, after initially keeping up well but then gradually falling behind. She will compete in the B-final on Sunday.

Jürg Trittibach