29 August 2021
By Göran R Buckhorn
With hot and humid conditions and a slight head wind, the world’s best para-rowers were racing for medals at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games at Sea Forest Waterway on Sunday.
In the PR1 Women’s Single Sculls, the question was never in doubt who was going to take the first gold medal of the day. After her fourth place in Rio, Birgit Skarstein of Norway has won everything there is to win. Earlier today, she was rapidly out of the blocks and then powered on, leaving the rest of the field to fight for second and third place. As a successful contender in Dancing with the Stars back home in Norway, Skarstein danced herself over the finish line.
A “time zone” behind was the rest of the field. Moran Samuel of Israel took the silver and France’s Nathalie Benoit took the bronze.
World and Paralympic Champion Roman Polianskyi of Ukraine was the favourite in the PR1 Men’s Single Sculls. He was first to the 500-metre mark, followed by Spain’s newcomer, Javier Munoz, who previously has competed in another water sport, para-canoeing. Erik Horrie of Australia was here in third place followed by Brazil’s Rene Pereira. With 500 metres to go, the Australian started a sprint and passed Munoz, who also had to see Pereira sneaking by. Gold to Polianskyi, silver to Horrie and bronze to Pereira. This was Horrie’s third Paralympic silver medal.
Great Britain’s Lauren Rowles and Laurence Whiteley won in the PR2 Mixed Double Sculls in Rio after only having rowed together for one year. Today, the Brits had to fight their way up through the field, meeting tough resistance from the Chinese and the Dutch crews. However, Whiteley and Rowles managed to defend their Paralympic title, which was a nice birthday present for Whiteley, who turns 30 today.
Great Britain has an impressive pedigree in PR3 Mixed Coxed Four, becoming champions in the two last Paralympic Games. GB’s Tokyo crew – James Fox, Ellen Buttrick, Giedre Rakauskaite, Oliver Stanhope and coxswain Erin Kennedy – are also the defending World and European Champions. And they did not disappoint. The four was first over the finish line, followed by USA and France.
PR1 Women’s Single Sculls (PR1W1x)
NOR, ISR, FRA, UKR, GER, BRA
KOR, ARG, BLR, USA, JPN, KEN
PR1 Men’s Single Sculls (PR1M1x)
UKR, AUS, BRA, ESP, GBR, ISR
RPC, GER, MEX, USA, NGR, SRI
PR2 Mixed Double Sculls (PR2Mix2x)
GBR, NED, CHN, UKR, ITA, POL
AUS, BRA, FRA, USA, UZB, CAN
PR3 Mixed Coxed Four (PR3Mix4+)
GBR, USA, FRA, AUS, ITA, ISR
RPC, CAN, UKR, BRA, ESP, JPN
More details about the finals are here.