The European Rowing Championship finally took place in Poznan, Poland, last weekend, after being postponed in spring due to the coronavirus pandemic. This year’s special circumstances were clearly visible, particularly on the podium where fellow team members awarded the medals. Nevertheless, it was a good insight into what to expect of the Olympics in Tokyo 2021. The European Championship was a combined event with Paralympic rowing, being held in Poznan for the first time.
With eight gold medals, this year’s European Championship was dominated by the Netherlands. They were followed by Italy and Romania, winning 4 gold medals each. British Rowing did not participate in this year’s European Championship. For other teams, it was the only big competition this year as all other events were cancelled due to the pandemic.
“Business as usual” in the Men’s Eight, where Germany won the 8th consecutive gold medal in the European Championships. The German Women’s Eight won silver in a close finish behind Romania and before the Netherlands. Germany took silver in Women’s Quadruple Sculls, behind the Netherlands and before Poland. Both Men’s and Women’s Lightweight Quadruple Sculls won silver as well. Last years champions in the Lightweight Men’s Double Skulls Jonathan Rommelmann and Jason Osborne missed gold narrowly, after an impressive final sprint with being only 0.13 seconds (!) slower than Italy. Bronze was won in both PR1 Single Sculls Women’s and Men’s by Sylvia Pille-Steppat and Marcus Klemp. Last year’s World- and European Champion Oliver Zeidler (Men’s Single Sculls) missed a place on the podium.
On top of winning the Women’s Eight, Romania also won the Men’s Pair before the Sinkovic brothers from Croatia and the 2017 World Champions from Italy, as well as the Women’s Pair and Women’s Double Skulls.
The Women Single Sculls was won by Sanita Puspure (Ireland) followed by Magdalena Lobnig (Austria) and Anneta Kydirou (Greece). Puspure has demonstrated again, that she is a hope for an Irish gold medal in Japan next year.
The Men’s Single Sculls was won by Sverri Nielsen (Denmark), followed by the home favourite Natan Wegrzycki-Szymczyk (Poland) and Kjetil Borch (Norway).
This years European Rowing Championship was dominated by the Netherlands, with an impressive outcome of eight gold, one silver and two bronze medals. Both the Women’s and the Men’s Four were won by Dutch teams, the Men’s despite this being their first race together. Gold medals for Quadruple Sculls, both Men and Women, and the Women’s Lightweight Double Sculls were secured by the Netherlands. In the Women’s Lightweight Single Sculls Martine Veldhuis won with a strong performance followed by Sofia Meakin (Swiss) and Paola Piazzolla (Italy). The Netherlands also won gold in Men’s Double Sculls (with hitting an astonishing stroke rate of 44 per minute at times) followed by Switzerland and Ireland. The PR2 Mixed Double Sculls were won by the Netherlands as well, followed by Ukraine and Poland.
The Italians Stefano Oppo and Pietro Ruta won the Lightweights Men Double Sculls followed by Germany only 0.13 seconds behind. Both the Men and Women Lightweight Quadruple Sculls, as well as the PR3 Mixed Coxed Four were secured by Italy.
The reigning World and Rio 2016 Paralympic champion Roman Poliansky (Ukraine) won gold, followed by Alexey Chuvashev (Russia) in the PR1 Men’s Single Sculls.
In the PR1 Women’s Single Sculls, Nathalie Benoit (France) took gold followed by Anna Sheremet (Ukraine).
The 2021 European Rowing Championships take place in Varese, Italy.
Positive Covid-tests in the aftermath
Even though the COVID-guidelines were followed throughout and many restrictions were in place, “FISA and the Poznan Organising Committee have received a total of six reports of positive covid tests from The Netherlands, Italy and Ukraine. One rower was infected at home before the event and transmitted it to the roommate. The other cases are still under investigation. All these individuals are now in quarantine and isolating, following their respective public health regulations. Other members of these teams have also been tested and received negative test results” (FISA).