Rowing: After Wind Cause Delays at European Qualification Regatta, Nine Nations Qualify

After wind delays, the 2021 European Olympic Qualification Regatta has concluded with Olympic quotas awarded in the single sculls and lightweight double sculls events. Only nations who qualified one or fewer boats at the 2019 World Championships were eligible to participate. The European Olympic Qualification Regatta was held in Varese, Italy from April 5th to April 8th 2021.

In terms of Olympic qualification, three single sculls and two lightweight double sculls quotas were contested. A nation can only qualify a single boat at this regatta unless they had two boats finishing in first place and they did not qualify any boats at the 2019 World Championships. Should a nation have multiple boats in a qualification position, the highest ranked boat will be given the quota while the other quota will be reallocated to the next highest ranked boat.

The two heat winners of the women’s single sculls were Russia’s Hanna Prakhatsen (7:34.43) and Greece’s Anneta Kyridou (7:39.34) which allowed them to directly advance to the finals. The two repechages were won by Ukraine’s Diana Dymchenko (7:45.73) and Serbia’s Jovana Arsic (7:53.11). The final was won by Prakhatsen who was well above the field by winning the event by over ten seconds with a time of 7:30.57. The silver was won by Dymchenko (7:41.30) while the bronze went to Arsic (7:42.41). The Olympic quotas were awarded to Russia, Serbia and Sweden thanks to fourth place finisher Lovisa Claesson.

The women’s lightweight double sculls only contained six boats so the first race was essentially a race for lane placement. It was won by Greece’s Zoi Fitsiou and Evangelia Anastasiadou whom finished with a time of 7:08.43, ahead of Russia’s Anastasia Lebedeva and Maria Botalova. The Russian boat would flip the result in the final to win the event with a time of 7:04.59. Fitsiou and Anastasiadou won silver (7:11.14) while Austria’s Valentina Cavallar and Louisa Altenhuber won bronze (7:14.63). The Olympic quotas were awarded to Russia and Austria.

The two heat winners of the men’s lightweight double sculls were Ukraine’s Igor Khmara and Stanislav Kovalov (6:27.35) and Portugal’s Pedro Fraga and Afonso Costa (6:30.39). The repechage saw Russia’s Kirill Blinovskikh and Maksim Telitcyn (6:34.85) as the winners. The three nations would make up the podium during the final race as Khmara and Kovalov won gold (6:23.70), Fraga and Costa won silver (6:24.97) and Blinovskikh and Telitcyn won bronze (6:27.16). The Olympic quotas were awarded to Ukraine and Portugal.

The men’s single sculls had the largest number of entrants with 15 boats. The heats were won by Israel’s Dani Fridman (7:00.15), Greece’s Stefanos Ntouskos (6:52.84) and Hungary’s Bendeguz Petervari-Molnar (7:00.80). The repechage allowed winner Peter Zelinka (7:05.68) of Slovakia and two others to advance to the semi-finals. Ntouskos won his semi-final race with a time 7:06.89 while Russia’s Alexander Vyazovkin (7:08.66) won the second race. The two boats would go head-to-head in the final where Ntouskos prevailed (6:52.22). Vyazovkin won silver (6:54.62) while Petevari-Molnar won bronze (7:01.17). The Olympic quotas were awarded to Greece, Hungary and Turkey’s Onat Kazakli whom finished sixth.

Unqualified nations will have one more opportunity to earn a spot to the Olympics via the Final Qualification Regatta, currently scheduled to take place in May. The final continental qualifiers, the Asia/Oceania regatta is set to take place within the coming weeks.

Qualified Nations

Men’s Single Sculls
* Greece
* Hungary
* Turkey

Women’s Single Sculls
* Russia
* Serbia
* Sweden

Men’s Lightweight Double Sculls
* Portugal
* Ukraine

Women’s Lightweight Double Sculls
* Austria
* Russia

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