Here is part 2 of my World Championships preview, the heavyweight women.
24 boats. Kim Crow is proving the one to beat this season. She took gold in Lucerne and in Sydney and is looking odds on to become Australia’s first ever World W1X champion. The main challenge to this achievement will come from the Olympic Champion, Mirka Knapkova. Knapkova only raced at one world cup this season and was slightly disappointed to finish 3rd at Lucerne, although having raced at Henley the week before she was, perhaps, suffering a little from those exertions. She won the Europeans championships this season and was world champion in 2011. She has the knack of delivering the result when it really matters. The battle between her and Kim Crow is going to be fascinating. But, it’s not just about these two. Olympic W8 champion, Eleanor Logan of the USA has switched from sweep to sculling this season and made an immediate impact. She has medalled at each of the three World Cups with silver at Lucerne being her best result. Kiwi Emma Twigg is also a strong candidate for a medal she won at Eton and was 4th in Lucerne. She narrowly missed a medal at London 2012 but has successfully medalled and the last 2 World championships and has a strong chance to make it a hat trick. My gut instinct says that the medals will be between these 4. Outside of this group the ones to watch are 2010 world champion Frida Svensson. She took silver at Dorney but withdrew from Lucerne. The Swede also has a 4th place finish at the Europeans. Another likely “A” finalist is Lithuania’s Donata Vistartaite. She is doubling up in the W2X, an event she took gold at Lucerne and the European championships. She raced the single at the Olympics finishing 8th. GB’s Vicky Thornley is racing the W1X this season and was slightly disappointed to finish 10th at Lucerne after a very strong 4th at Eton. An “A” final place would be a major achievement for her. She will face stiff competition to make that final from the likes of European silver medallist Magdalena Lobnig. The Austrian has made the “A” final at both Lucerne and Dorney. Keep an eye out also for U23 world Champion Lisa Schmidla from Germany and the Netherlands Inge Janssen (winner of the “B” final at Lucerne).
As with the M1X it’s great to see representatives from some of the smaller nations, the W1X sees scullers from the Ivory Coast, India, Kuwait, Malaysia, The Sudan and Namibia.
My predictions…I think Knapkova will produce the result when it matters with Crow picking up silver and Twigg taking Logan for the bronze.
15 crews. The biggest name in this event is Ekaterina Karsten. The multiple world and Olympic champion has switched from the single to the double this season, but it’s not yet really set the event alight. A bronze medal at the Seville European championships was followed by a 4th place at Lucerne. At both championships they were beaten to gold by the Lithuanians, Donata Vistartaite and Milda Valciukaite. As mentioned above Vistartaite is doubling up in the W1X which means she’s going to have a lot of races which may hit her as it gets towards the business end of the regatta. The British are the Olympic champions in this event but have a new line-up for this season. Fran Houghton has 3 Olympics under her belt. She is joined by Vicky Meyer-Laker and they won at Dorney with a bronze at Sydney. They would have hoped for a better result than 5th at Lucerne. If they “click” they have the potential to take gold.
Winners in Sydney were the Kiwis, Fiona Burke and Zoe Stevenson, they followed this up with a silver medal at Lucerne. Bronze medallists at Lucerne were the Americans, Meghan O’leary and Ellen Tomek. An interesting new combination are the Romanians, Adelina Cojocariu and Irina Dorneanu. These two were in the W8 that won silver at Lucerne and took gold at the European championships. It’ll be interesting to see how they get on in the double.
My picks…NZ gold, Lithuania silver, GB bronze.
14 crews. The British have dominated this event with wins in Lucerne and Dorney. Polly Swann and Helen Glover have looked imperious so far and it would be a major upset if they were not to take gold in Chungju. The main challenge so far this season has come from the Kiwis, Kayla Pratt and Rebecca Scown. They took 2nd to the British at both Eton and Lucerne. These two were well clear of the 3rd place Americans. The Germans have been chopping and changing their W2-. The established pairing of Kerstin Hartmann and Marlene Sinnig switched to the W8 for Lucerne finishing 5th. For Chungju they switch back to the W2- a boat they took bronze at Dorney and silver at the Europeans.
Also switching from the W8 at Lucerne are the Romanians Roxana Cogianu and Nicoleta Albu. They won silver at Lucerne and gold at the Europeans. It’ll be interesting to see what impact they make in the smaller boat.
My picks…GB for gold with NZ 2nd and Romania pipping the Americans for bronze.
a straight final of 6 boats. The Canadians, Australians and Italians are all doubling up in the W8. At Lucerne the Canadians came out on top ahead of the Australian U23 World champions and I would anticipate these two vying for the gold and silver again. Germany have not entered the W8 but have instead entered half of the crew that came 5th in the 8 at Lucerne in the 4-. The USA have two international debutants on-board with Tessa Gobbo from Brown University and Emily Huelskamp from Riverside Boat club. They are joined by 2011 U23 medallists Olivia Coffey and Felice Mueller.
My picks, Canada gold, Australia silver, Germany bronze.
11 boats. The Germans have been totally dominant this season winning at Lucerne, Dorney and the European championships it’ll take something out of the ordinary to deprive them of another gold in Chungju. Chasing the Germans will be the Poles and the Australians. Poland have silver from Lucerne and Dorney, with the Australians taking the bronze and the gold at their home World Cup. The youthful Australians are also the U23 world champions. The battle between these two chasing the Germans will be fascinating. But, the Americans have tweaked their line-up bringing in Olympic bronze medallist Megan Kalmoe. They now have a crew full of Olympic medallists and may not challenge the Germans but will definitely be in the mix for a lesser medal. The appearance of Megan Kalmoe has alos raised the excitement amongst the male rowing fraternity as they lobby for inclusion in “the List”, for some this is almost as important as a result on the water 😉 http://megankalmoe.com/thelist/
So the medals…Germany for the win, Australia silver, USA bronze.
9 crews. The USA blew away the rest of the world at Lucerne posting a new World Best Time and it seems likely that the rest of the field will be scrapping over the minor medals in Chungju. The Americans are just too strong and powerful, as I said in my Lucerne review, they may not be the best technically but they are just able to muscle their way to the gold medal. Behind them the Australians, Canadians and Italians are all doubling up in the W4- which may not help their cause. The Australians won in Sydney and also took 6th at the Olympics. The Romanians are the European champions and were runners up to the Americans at Lucerne with the Canadians in third. The British have high hopes for their 8 after winning comfortably at Henley and just missing out on the medal places at Lucerne, there is strong expectation that this crew can force their way onto the podium.
My picks…The USA to take gold, Romania silver and GB bronze.
The final part of the preview, the lightweights and Para-rowing events will follow later.