4 October 2021
By Göran R Buckhorn
Saturday, the day for the Finals of the three-day 2021 World Rowing Coastal Championships at Praia da Torre in Oeiras, Portugal, could not have been more exciting. There were false starts, penalties, traffic jams around the first buoy, capsizes, broken oars, recoveries, tough waves and wonderful sportsmanship. In short, it was rowing at its best.
Saturday’s format for the start was “beach start”, where the crews placed their boats on the water. Depending on how they performed in previous rounds they were given certain lanes. At the start signal the crew entered their boats and off they went out in the waves. At the end of the race, the crews rowed up on the shore and a member of the crew sprinted up to the finish line. On the final day, the crews were racing 6,000 metres with eight buoys to navigate. This was 2,000 metres longer than the previous two days.
In the first race of the day, the CW4x+, Spain1 was in the lead, but they were soon passed by a strong Ukrainian crew that took off in the horizon and lead the race to the finish.
Result – gold: Ukraine, silver: France2, bronze: Spain1
Sweden’s Eskil Borgh and Dennis Gustavsson won the qualifying race on Friday for the CM2x A-final on Saturday thereby being strong contenders for the gold medal in the boat class. However, it was the Swedes’ neighbours Kjetil Borch and Jan Oscar Stabe Helvig, two Tokyo Olympians from Norway, who took an early lead. Then misfortune struck two of the crews. Both the Belgian double, with Maxime Andre and Gaston Mercier, and the Norwegian crew broke an oar. The Belgians, seeing what had happened to Borch/Stabe Helvig, graciously gave one of their oars to the Norwegians, so they could continue the race. Sportsmanship on the highest level if you ask me! Hear what the Belgians and Norwegians said about their mishaps in this short video:
In the meantime, the Swedes Borgh and Gustavsson had taken the lead, which they held over the finish line. They were followed by Italy1 and Spain1. I am sure the Swedish gold medallists forgive the Belgians and the Norwegians for stealing their thunder in the men’s CM2x, but this is stuff that makes legendary tales in the history of rowing.
Result – gold: Sweden, silver: Italy1, bronze: Spain1
Diana Dymchenko of Ukraine, who has become World Champion for the last three times (no championships in 2020) in the solo class, CW1x, was a favourite to take her fourth gold medal. She was behind in the beginning of the race but worked her way up the field and had a clear-water lead. Nonetheless, half-way through the race, Italy’s Stefania Gobbi overpowered her. Tokyo Olympian Gobbi managed to hold her position throughout the race and took the gold medal, leaving Dymchenko with the silver and Jessica Berra of France with the bronze.
Result – gold: Stefania Gobbi (Italy), silver: Diana Dymchenko (Ukraine), bronze: Jessica Berra (France)
After a false start by Russia in the CW2x, which gave them a 10-second penalty, Ukraine1 and Denmark1 were the fastest crews away from the beach. The Ukrainian crew was soon in the lead followed by the Danish crew. Coming up through the field was another Ukrainian crew with Yevheniia Dovhodko and Daryna Verkhogliad, who managed to stay in the third place the whole race. This was the second medal for these ladies, who had won gold in the CW4x+ earlier in the day.
Result – gold: Ukraine1, silver: Denmark1, bronze: Ukraine2
The final of the CW1x was an amazing race. Guillaume Blanc of Monaco took an early lead but was passed by reigning World Champion Adrian Miramon Quiroga of Spain, who was followed by Germany’s Lars Wichert, the 2019 silver medallist in the men’s solo boat. Wichert had to abandon the race when he broke an oar. At the first buoy, disaster struck the Spaniard when his boat capsized. However, like a flash, he turned the boat around, was up on the seat in no time and continued his race.
During the time Miramon Quiroga worked to get his boat on the right keel, his countryman Jaime Canalejo Pazos, 2020 Olympian in the men’s pair, went up to the lead which he held over the finish line. Eduardo Gabriel Linares Ruiz of Germany came in second while Miramon Quiroga took the bronze medal – an astonishing achievement by the Spaniard.
Result – gold: Jaime Canalejo Pazos (Spain), silver: Eduardo Gabriel Linares Ruiz (Germany), bronze: Adrian Miramon Quiroga (Spain)
Ten-second penalties were handed to the three crews from the Czech Republic, Italy1 and Finland after they jumped the gun in the CM4x+. At the restart, the Ukrainian crew took the lead and easily navigated around the first buoy. GreatBritan8 were not so lucky and got tangled on the buoy. The Czech crew took advantage of the situation and moved in to the second place, despite their penalty. First over the finish line was the Ukrainian boat, followed by the Czech rowers. Great Britain took the bronze, their first medal at these championships. In the GB crew was Jack Beaumont, silver medallist in the quadruple sculls at the Tokyo Games, and James Fox, gold medallist in the PR3Mix4+ at the 2020 Paralympic Games.
Result – gold: Ukraine, silver: Czech Republish, bronze: Great Britain
In the CMix2x, Ander Martin and Esther Briz Zamorano of Spain was first over the line adding a gold medal to their victory in the boat class at the World Rowing Beach Sprint Finals a week ago. Spain also picked up the silver and bronze medals. In those boats were Adrian Miramon Quiroga and Jaime Canalejo Pazos, medallists in the men’s solo class.
Result – gold: Spain, silver: Spain, bronze: Spain
Ukraine was on top of the medal table with three golds, one silver and one bronze. Spain came second with two golds, one silver and four bronzes. The World Rowing Coastal Championships Team Award went to Spain.
If you missed watching any of the races go to World Rowing YouTube Channel.
The 2022 World Rowing Coastal Championships will be held in Saundersfoot, Wales, Great Britain, on 7-9 October 2022.