28 April 2021
By Göran R Buckhorn
After the European Rowing Championships, held in Varese, Italy, almost three weeks ago, it is time for World Cup I. The regatta will take place on Jarun Lake in Zagreb, Croatia, from 30 April to 2 May.
Twenty-seven nations will participate in this rather thin regatta with no crews racing in the men’s eights, lightweight quads and lightweight pairs, and women’s eights, lightweight quads and lightweight pairs. The list of the provisional entries shows that six boat classes only have six crews or less, which means the crews go straight to the A finals.
The host nation, Croatia, and Switzerland will both have 12 crews entering the regatta. Of course, special attention will be paid to Martin and Valent Sinkovic in the pairs, who will be racing on their home waters. At the European Championships, the brothers took the gold medal – and let us not forget, they are the reigning Olympic champions from Rio. Trying to beat the Sinkovics are Martin Mackovic and Milos Vasic, of Serbia, the bronze medallists at the European Championships.
The two events with most participants are the men’s single sculls, with 24 scullers, and men’s double sculls with 20 contestants.
In the men’s single sculls, European champion Oliver Zeidler of Germany can count on some hard resistance from “home son” Damir Martin, Olympic silver medallist in Rio. Norwegian Kjetil Borch is out to revive himself after his poor performance in the final at the European Championships where he ended up last.
However, they all have to watch out for Ondřej Synek, of the Czech Republic, the Rio bronze medallist, who returns to international racing in Zagreb. Thirty-eight-year-old Synek will do everything to set the record straight. He is chasing the Olympic gold medal, which has still eluded him. In his medal cabinet, Synek has two Olympic silver medals and one bronze, five World Championship gold medals, three silver and four bronze medals. To this can be added five gold medals, one silver medal and one bronze medal at the European Championships. Out of these 22 medals, 20 were won in the single sculls – an amazing record.
It is going to be interesting to see how the French European champions Hugo Boucheron and Matthieu Androdias will do in the double sculls. All together there will be 20 crews fighting to get to the A final, including European finalists Barnabe Delarze and Roman Roeoesli of Switzerland, and Miroslaw Zietarski and Mateusz Biskup of Poland.
Favourites in the women’s double sculls are Donata Karaliene (nee Vistartaite) and Milda Valciukaite of Lithuania. They won the silver medal at the European Championships and the bronze at the Rio Olympics.
Racing begins on Friday 30 April and will continue through to semifinals with finals on Sunday 2 May. Saturday and Sunday racing will be live streamed on www.worldrowing.com