Samsung World Rowing Cup II: The Real European Rowing Championships?
While the European Rowing Championships took place last month in Seville, it's difficult to call them that when Europe's top team, Great Britain, was not on the premises. And, with somewhat reduced numbers of international crews making their way Down Under to the first of the World Rowing Cups in March, in some ways, this feels like the real beginning to the international season this year—and at the very site of the Olympic Rowing Regatta, no less! Still, even here, it's hard not to take note of the smaller size of the field, with no women's eight event, and only five crews in the men's eight (two of them from GB, one from the Czech Republic, which includes several oarsmen from their 2011 world championships crew and seven of last year's Euro bronze medalists, and crews from Poland—this course will look very familiar to these 2012 Olympians—and France, shown in the training footage above).
It will, however, make for a very interesting regatta, with a number of newly formed combinations taking on more established players at the elite level. We'll be very curious to see how the new GB lightweight men's double gets on, with the brothers Peter and Richard Chambers teaming up following independent podium appearances in Sydney earlier this year (in the LM2x and LM4-). Another race to watch will be the women's single—we must admit, after a very impressive showing at the Sydney International Rowing Regatta, we'll be keeping our collective eye on two-time Olympic gold medalist Elle Logan, as she takes on some of the better known names in women's sculling, including former world champion Frida Svensson of Sweden, Euro Champs runner-up Magdalena Lobnig of Austria, Julia Levina of Russia, and New Zealand's Emma Twigg.
The men's double may also prove to be noteworthy, with young Azerbaijani phenom Aleksandar Aleksandrov (fresh off his U23 world title and fifth place finish in the men's single in London) teaming up with Boris Yotov (born in 1996!), who last raced internationally with Aleksandrov at the 2012 Olympic Qualification Regatta on the Rotsee, finishing third overall in the event. These two could pose a threat to the hometown duo of Matt Langridge and Bill Lucas, as well as perennial contenders Eric Knittel and Stephan Krueger of Germany.
You can follow along live with all the happenings at Eton Dorney this weekend via the official website of World Rowing.
Thanks very much to Hugues for sending us the video!