The Rio Olympic Men’s Single scull preview

M

Rio 2016

The time has come, it’s the culmination of four years hard work, the Rio Olympic Games are upon us. This means it’s also time for my preview of the Olympic rowing events.

 

The Men’s Single Sculls

32 competitors

 

Algeria

Sid Ali Boudina

Sid Ali Boudina

Age: 26

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

Word Championship record: 18th LM1X 2015, 22nd LM1X 2014, 15th LM1X 2011

2016 record: 6th LM1X Varese World Cup, Rep LM1X Lucerne World Cup

Boudina made his international debut in 2010 finishing 20th in the LM1X at the U23 World Championships in Brest. He qualified for Rio by finishing 3rd at the African Qualifying Regatta. In 214 he won the LM1X at the 10th African Rowing Championships.

 

Argentina

Brian Rosso

Brian Rosso

Age: 28

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 22nd M1X in 2014 and 2015

2016 record: 10th M1X Varese World Cup, 15th M1X Lucerne World Cup

Rosso raced at the U23 World Championships in 2008 and 2009 with a best performance of 9th in the BM1X in 2009. He switched to the quad in 2012 and missed out on qualifying for the London Olympics.  He earned his spot for Rio by finishing 2nd at the Americas Qualifying Regatta. He won bronze medals in the M1X and M4X at the Pan-Am Games in Toronto in 2015. He’s following in the footsteps of countryman Santiago Fernandez who raced at four Olympic Games with a best result of 4th in Athens.

 

Australia

rhys_grant

photo: Rowing Australia

Rhys Grant

Age: 29

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 15th M4X 2014

2016 record: 2nd at the European and Final Olympic Qualifying Regatta

Nicknamed “Mr President”, Grant raced for Australia at the Junior World Championships in 2004. He was reserve for the senior team in 2013 and made his senior debut in 2014. Grant is the reigning Australian Interstate Sculling Champion. Coached by Rhett Ayliffe and Andrew Randell. Australia failed to qualify a single sculler for the Olympic Games in London and have not had an A-finalist since Hamish McGlashan finished 4th in 1988, and have not won an Olympic M1X medal since Stuart McKenzie won silver in 1956. A transport engineer by trade, Grant’s father, Guy, was a member of the Australian Ice Hockey team in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

 

Belgium

DiamondSculls

Hanes Obreno of Belgium, the surprise winner of the Diamond Challenge Sculls

Hannes Obreno

Age: 25

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 18th LM2X 2011, 8th M1X 2014, 12th M1X 2015

2016 record: Bronze medal in the M1X at the Varese World Cup.

Obreno started his international career as a lightweight finishing 7th in the LM2X at the 2010 European Championships. In 2012 he switched to the heavyweight division winning silver in the U23 M1X World Championships in 2013. He qualified for Rio by winning the European Qualifying Regatta (which resulted in the Belgian Rowing Federation having to make the unenviable choice of taking either the M1X or the LM2X to Rio, both qualified but only one boat was allowed to go – they went with the M1X). So far in 2016 Obreno has had a great season, winning a bronze in Varese and then beating Mahe Drysdale in an epic Diamond Challenge Sculls final at Henley Royal Regatta. Belgium have a good record in the M1X at the Olympics with Tim Maeyens having raced at the last three Olympic Games.

 

Belarus

Shcharbachenia

Photo: World Rowing

Stanislau Shcharbachenia

Age: 31

Olympic record: 6th M4X Athens, 7th M1X Beijing, 12th M4- London

World Championship record: 11th M4X 2006, 5th M2X 2007, 14th M2X 2009, 9th M4- 2011, 1st M2+ 2012, 7th M4- 2013, 7th M1X 2014, 7th M1X 2015

2016 record: 7th M1X Lucerne World Cup, (withdrew ill before the semi of Poznan World Cup), 5th M1X European Championships

One of the most experienced racers in the field, heading for his 4th Olympic Games. Shcharbachenia was World Junior Champion in 2001 and U23 World Champion in 2005, 2006 and 2007. He started his senior career in the Belarus sculling squad but switched to sweep for the London Olympiad, now back in a sculling boat his best performance was a bronze medal at the 2015 Varese World Cup. He’s a sculler who is always “there or thereabouts” but tends to be at the back end of the A-Final or top end of the B-Final. If you were going to be harsh you could say he’s not fulfilled the potential he showed as a three-time U23 World Champion.

 

Croatia

Damir Martin

Photo: World Rowing

Damir Martin

Age: 27

Olympic record: Silver M4X London

World Championship record: 4th M4X 2009, 1st M4X 2010, 3rd M4X 2011, 1st M4X 2013, 5th M1X 2015

2016 record: 1st M1X Varese World Cup, 2nd Poznan World Cup, 1st European Championships

Martin made his senior international debut in 2007 and was part of an outstanding young M4X (along with David Sain and Valent and Martin Sinkovic) that won the U23 World title in 2009 and the U23 and Senior World titles in 2010. After the quad was disbanded Martin switched to the single he’s made a big impact, taking a silver medal in his first regatta at the 1st World Cup in 2015. He followed that up by becoming European Champion the same year. He can be somewhat mercurial in his race plans, having a tendency go off extremely hard and then trying to hold on. Sometime this doesn’t pay off and at the final two World Cups in 2015 he was off the pace. But so far in 2016 he’s shown great maturity in his sculling, winning in Varese and at retaining his title at the European Championships. His showdown with Mahe Drysdale at the Poznan World Cup was highly anticipated and turned into an epic, with the Kiwi Olympic Champion overhauling the Croat in the final sprint. Martin has established himself as one of the favourites for gold.

 

Cuba

Rodriguez

Angel Fournier Rodriguez

Age: 28

Olympic record: 12th M4X Beijing, 7th M1X London

World Championship record: 11th M4X 2007, 10th M1X 2009, 8th M1X 2011, 2nd M1X 2013, 3rd M1X 2014, 6th M1X 2015

2016 record: 2nd Varese World Cup, 3rd Lucerne World Cup

Fournier Rodriguez is the best sculler ever to represent Cuba. He’s the first to make the M1X World Championship A-Final, the first to win a World Championship M1X medal, and was the first Cuban to race in the M1X at an Olympic Games when he won the B-final at London 2012. He is a very powerful and laid back sculler, sometimes too laid back as he stopped too early in the final in 2014, nearly costing him his bronze medal. On his day he’s capable of matching the very best, but I would make him an outside bet for a medal.

 

The Czech Republic

Synek02

Ondrej Synek

Age: 34

Olympic record:  M2X 5th Athens, M1X silver medal in Beijing and London

World Championship record: M1X gold 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015. Silver 2007, 2011. Bronze M2X 2003, M1X 2005, 2006, 2009. 11th M4X 2001, 5th M2X 2002

2016 record: 3rd European Championships, 2nd Lucerne World Cup

One of the most outstanding scullers of his generation, Synek has four World Championship titles to his credit and two Olympic silver medals. He is one of the most consistent scullers in the world having only failed to make an A-final twice in a senior M1X career that stretches back to 2005 (the 2nd World Cup in 2006 when he finished 13th and 1st World Cup in 2009 when he finished 7th) and since 2009 he’s only failed to medal twice (at the 2nd and 3rd World Cups in 2015 when he finished 4th and 5th respectively). The one thing he’s yet to get is an Olympic Gold medal, Rio is probably his last chance at glory and he will definitely be one of the favourites to take the title, if he does it will be the crowning achievement of an outstanding career.

 

Ecuador

Ecuador

Bryan Sola Zambrano

Age: 24

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: None

2016 record: 17th LM1X Poznan World Cup.

Zambrano won his spot to represent Ecuador at the Olympics by finishing 8th at the Americas Qualifying Regatta. This wasn’t sufficient to gain a place by right but because both Brazil and Chile, who finished ahead of the Ecuadorian, declined their places in the M1X. He doesn’t have a huge amount of experience on the World stage, just one World Cup regatta this year. In 2013 he was part of the Ecuadorian men’s 8 that won bronze at the Bolivarian Games and 4th in the U23 category at the 2014 South American championships.

 

Egypt

Egypt

Abdelkhalek El-banna

Age: 28

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: None

2016 record: 1st African Qualifying Regatta

Another athlete with limited exposure on the world stage, but El-banna certainly showed his form by taking first place at the African Qualifying Regatta. He’s not competed at a World Championships or FISA World Cup but he did compete in the M2X with Moustafa Feyala at the 2013 Mediterranean Games finishing in 3rd place.

 

Great Britain

Campbell

Alan Campbell

Olympic record: 12th M4X Athens, 5th M1X Beijing, 3rd M1X London

World Championship record: 7th M4X 2005, 6th M1X 2006, 4th M1X 2007, 2nd M1X 2009, 3rd M1X 2010, 3rd M1X 2011, 4th M1X 2013, 8th M1X 2015

2016 record: 5th Lucerne World Cup, 3rd Poznan World Cup.

Alan Campbell has been Team GB’s representative in the single scull for the past 10 years. He’s a sculler who wears his heart on his sleeve and you know he never holds anything back in his races. His bronze medal performance in London was one of the best performances of the regatta and to see Campbell after the race, barely able to stand, shows how much the man from Coleraine invests in every race. The highpoint of his career was back in 2009 when he took silver at the World Championships and for a few years in the run up to London he formed a triumvirate of scullers, with Drysdale and Synek, who would always be the ones battling for the medals. The Rio Olympiad has not been great for Britain’s number 1 sculler. He was controversially dropped in 2014 after a disappointing 14th place at the final World Cup. He regained his place in 2015 but still missed out on the A-Final ending up 8th. But, crucially he’d done enough to qualify the boat for Rio and success at the GB trials meant it was his name that got allocated to the single scull. 2016 has shown a gradual return to form, 9th at the European’s was followed by 5th in Lucerne and then a bronze medal at the final World Cup in Poznan. A repeat of his heroics in London might be too much to ask but if anyone can produce a heroic performance it’s Campbell.

 

Hungary

Bendeguz Petervari-Molnar

Age: 23

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 21st M2X 2014, 21st M2X 2015

2016 record: 13th M1X Poznan World Cup

Winner of the gold at the University World Championships in 2014 Petervari-Molnar has earned a spot at the Olympics at his 2nd attempt. In 2012 he was part of the Hungarian M4X that finished 6th at the Final Qualifying Regatta. Four years later he’s gone solo and has successfully achieved his goal by finishing 3rd in Lucerne. Coached by his father, Zoltan, he’s the first Hungarian to qualify for the Olympics in the M1X since Laszlo Szogi in 1996.

 

India

Dattu Baban Bhokanal

Age: 25

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: none

2016 record: 2nd Asian and Oceania Qualifying Regatta

Bhokanal only took up rowing after watching the Games in 2012, four years later he is set to become only the 9th rower to ever represent India at an Olympic Games.  His development in rowing is all the more remarkable as he comes from an area in India that has been beset by drought. When he arrived at the Indian rowing training lake, he had never seen such a large body of water and his first thought was how he could get some of the water back to his village! But, his performance at the Asia and Oceania Qualifying regatta showed he has made tremendous progress in the 4 years he’s been rowing.

 

Indonesia

memo

Memo Memo

Age: 25

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 27th M1X 2014, 32nd M1X 2015

2016 record:  3rd at the Asian and Oceania Qualifying Regatta

Memo is the first Indonesian rower ever to qualify for the Olympic Games which is a tremendous achievement. He’s had some experience of international competition having raced at the last two World Championships.

 

Iraq

Mohammed Al-Khafaji

Al-K

Age: 22

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 17th M4X 2014, 26th LM1X 2015

2016 record: 12th LM1X Poznan, 6th Asia & Oceania Qualifying regatta

By finishing 6th at the Asia & Oceania Qualifying regatta Mohammed Jasim Al-Khafaji secured his place in history. He became the first Iraqi to qualify for the M1X at the Olympic Games. He was part of an Iraqi quad scull that finished 8th at the 2014 Asian Games and 17th at the World Championships. A natural lightweight Al-Khafaji produced a good performance at the Poznan World Cup to finish 12th of 17 scullers.

 

South Korea

Dong Yong

Photo: Zimbio.com

Kim Dong-Yong

Age: 25

Olympic record: 21st M1X London

World Championship record: 21st M2X 2011, 16th M1X 2013, 27th M1X 2105

2016 record: 1st Asia and Oceania Qualifying regatta, 15th Poznan World Cup

 

No stranger to the Olympic Games, Dong-Yong secured his place at his 2nd Olympic Games by a strong win at the Asia & Oceania Qualifying regatta. Rowing is a very popular sport in Korea and they are one of the Asian power-houses in the sport. A Physical Education student at Daegu University Dong-Yong finished 8th at the 2015 Universiade in Gwangju.

 

Kazakhstan

KAZ M1X

Photo: Zimbio.com

Vladislav Yakovlev

Age: 23

Olympic record: 28th M1X London

World Championship record: 19th M1X 2013, 20th M4X 2014, 28th M1X 2015

2016 record: 5th Asia and Oceania Qualifying Regatta

Qualifying for his 2nd Olympic Games, Yakovlev was still a teenager when he raced at the London Olympics finishing 28th of the 33 scullers. 4 years later he will definitely have benefitted from the experience and secured his place on the start line in Rio by finishing 5th at the Asia and Oceania Qualifying Regatta. He will be looking to make progress beyond the E-Final he achieved four years ago.

 

Libya

Lib M1X

Al Hussein Ghambour

Age: 26

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 25th M1X 2013

2016 record: 5th African Olympic Qualifying Regatta, 23rd M1X Varese World Cup

Libya’s Al Hussein Ghambour has already secured his place in the history books by gaining a place at the Olympic Games, the first time Libya have been represented in the M!X. Although Ghambour missed direct qualification at the African Qualifying Regatta when he finished 5th, Libya were offered one of the Tripartite invitations (Countries can apply for a tripartite invitation if they miss qualifying by other means and are not represented by any other boat at the Games). Ghambour is no stranger to international competition having raced at the 2013 Mediterranean Games and the World championships. He also raced at the Varese World Cup, finishing 23rd out of 24.

 

 

 

 

Lithuania

Griskonis

Mindaugus Griskonis

Age: 30

Olympic record: 8th M1X Beijing, 8th M1X London

World Championship record: 12th M2X 2006, 17th M2X 2007, 7th M1X 2009, 8th M1X 2010, 7th M1X 2011, 6th M1X 2013, 4th M1X 2014, 3rd M1X 2015

2016 record: 2nd M1X European Championships, 6th M1X Lucerne World Cup

Griskonis is a sculler whose performances are sometimes overlooked, but he has become one of the most consistent competitors of the last few years. He won his first World Championship medal in 2015 and he’s made the A-Final in every regatta he’s raced at so far this Olympiad. He’s also won two European titles and took silver behind Damir Martin at this year’s Euros. The son of two former rowers he says he’s particularly suited to the single scull as he likes “to be king of the boat”. Coached by Robertas Tamulevicius he’s a student of Public Administration at Mykolas Romeris University in Vilnius. Griskonis is certainly going to be one of the contenders battling for a medal in what, he has already declared, will be his last international race.

Edit: Have heard that due to an injury to Rolandas Mascinskas in the Lithuanian M2X, Griskonis is no longer racing the M1X but has moved to the double. His place in the M1X has been taken 18 year old Armandas Kelmelis, the 2016 Junior European M1X Champion.

 

Mexico

Cabrera

Juan Carlos Cabrera

Age: 24

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 18th M1X 2014, 13th M1X 2015

2016 record: 1st Americas Qualifying Regatta, 8th M1X Lucerne

Cabrera made his senior debut while still a teenager, rowing in the M4- at the Hamburg World Cup in 2011. In 2012 he moved into the single scull racing to 8th at the Munich World Cup and 7th at the U23 World Championships the same year. He continued this pattern in 2013 with another 8th place finish at Lucerne and followed that up by making the A-Final at the U23 World Championships. At his first senior World Championships he was a creditable 18th and improved to 15th in 2015. At the Lucerne World Cup this season he produced an excellent race to finish 8th (again) just behind Belarus’s Stanislau Shcharbachenia. He won his place at Rio by winning the Americas Qualifying Regatta. Cabrera is probably the best sculler Mexico has produced for more than 20 years and it wouldn’t surprise me if he matched or even better the performance of his countryman, Joaquin Gomez Gurza who finished 7th at the Barcelona Olympics.

 

Norway

Hoff

Norway’s Nils Jakob Hoff

Nils Jakob Hoff

Age: 31

Olympic record: 7th M2X London

World Championship record: 20th M2X 2007, 13th M2X 2009, 4th M2X 2010, 8th M2X 2011, 1st M2X 2013, 10th M2X 2014, 12th M2X 2015

2016 record: 6th M4X Varese World Cup, 11th M1X Poznan World Cup

Part of an extraordinary sculling squad put together by Swede Johan Flodin, Hoff and partner Kjetil Borch became the first Norwegians to win the M2X World Championship gold medal in nearly a decade. With their success in 2013 they looked to be about to dominate the boat class, but unfortunately their results since the highpoint of 2013 have been heading in the wrong direction and they failed to win another medal as a double. With Olaf Tufte qualifying the M1X at the 2015 World Championships, Flodin took the bold decision to mix up the sculling boats. He took Hoff out of the Double and put Tufte in, with the challenge to qualify the boat at the Final Qualifying Regatta. Hoff moved into the Norwegian Quad and attempted to become the 5th nation to qualify for all three heavyweight men’s sculling events (along with Australia, Lithuania, Great Britain and New Zealand). Unfortunately for the Norwegians they came up short, so Hoff moved to the single scull spot vacated by Tufte. His only race to date in the single was at the Poznan World Cup were he finished 11th.

 

New Zealand

Mahe Henley

Mahe Drysdale

Age: 37

Olympic record: 5th M4- Athens, Bronze M1X Beijing, Gold M1X London

World Championship record: 11th M4- 2003, 1st M1X 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2nd M1X 2010, 2014, 2015

2016 record: 1st M1x Lucerne World Cup and Poznan World Cup

Probably the most outstanding sculler of the century so far, 5 world championship titles and two Olympic medals to his credit he and Synek have been sharing the World title between themselves for the last 11 years. Drysdale is another sculler who is renowned for his consistency, since switching to the single scull in 2005 he’s only failed to medal in 3 out of 32 regattas. So far in 2016 he’s shown he’s lost none of his speed by winning both World Cups. However, at Henley Regatta he’s was surprisingly beaten in the final of the Diamond Challenge Sculls. Rio looks set to be the Kiwis last international race and there is huge expectation on him to retain the title he won in London, emulating the feat achieved by Olaf Tufte in Beijing.

 

Paraguay

Trappe

Arturo Rivarola Trappe

Age: 26

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 29th M1X 2014

2016 record: 21st M1X Lucerne World Cup, 9th M1X Americas Qualifying Regatta

Arturo Rivarola Trappe started rowing in 2000 and represented Paraguay at the World Junior Championships in 2006 and 2007 with a best performance of 21st in the Jm1X in 2007. In 2008 he made the step up to the U23’s and finished 19th in the BM2X. In 2015 he produced his best performance with a 7th place at the Pan-Am Games. This season he raced finished 9th at the America’s qualifying Regatta but thanks to Brazil and Chile declining their spots he was able to grab the final qualifying position.

 

Peru

Garcia PER

Renzo Leon Garcia

Age: 25

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 23rd LM1X 2014, 10th LM1X 2015

2016 record: 5th Americas Qualifying Regatta, 10th LM1X Lucerne World Cup, 13th LM1X Poznan World Cup

Renzo Leon Garcia made his senior international debut at the 2014 World Championships finishing 23rd out of 27. This followed three years racing as an U23 with his best performance coming in 2011 when he just missed out on a medal in the U23 LM1X division.In 2015 he raced in the M2X at the Pan-Am Games taking 5th and in 2016 he also 5th at the Americas Qualifying Regatta. The decision by Brazil and Chile not to take up their places means Peru secure the 3rd of 7 Qualifying spots.

 

Poland

Natan

Natan Wegrzycki- Szymczyk

Age: 21

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 9th M1X 2015

2016 Record: 5th M1X Varese World Cup

Wegrzycki-Szymczyk is one of the most exciting young scullers on the circuit, World Junior champion in 2013 he followed this up with silver and bronze at the U23 World Championships in 2014 and 2015. He made his senior international debut in 2014 finishing 5th in the M4X at the European Championships. In 2015 he raced at both the Senior and U23 World Championships taking bronze at U23 and finishing 9th at the Seniors. From a strong rowing background, he’s coached by his father in what they call “the family business”. He’s currently studying at the University of California, Berkeley, and was stroke of their Varsity 8 that won the IRA Championships. He’s raced once this season taking 5th at the Varese World Cup. He had entered the Diamonds at Henley but withdrew before racing started. It remains to be seen how much his sculling has been affected by the focus on sweep rowing at Cal. He probably won’t be challenging for medals in Rio but will be one to watch for Tokyo, especially when he’s finished his studies at Cal.

 

Thailand

Thailand

Jaruwat Saensuk

Age: 20

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 31st LM2X 2015

2016 Record: 20th M1X Lucerne World Cup, 19th M1X Poznan World Cup. 4th Asia & Oceania Qualifying Regatta

Saensuk made his international debut last year racing at both the U23 and Senior World Championships. At the U23’s he finished 22nd in the BLM2X with Prem Nampratueng and together these two went on to race at the senior world championships where they finished 31st out of 34. Saensuk is the current Asian lightweight record holder on the ergo with a time of 6:24.4 which he set in April 2015. He won his spot at the Rio Games by finishing 4th at the Asia & Oceania Qualifying Regatta.

 

Tunisia

Taieb

Mohammed Taieb

Age: 19

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 22nd LM1X 2014

2016 record: 15th M1X Varese World Cup, 15th LM1X Poznan World Cup, 2nd Asia & Oceania Qualifying Regatta

The youngest man in the field, Taieb doesn’t turn 20 until 2 months after the Games. He made his international debut at the Junior World Championships in 2013 where he finished 21st in the JM1X. In 2014 he made his senior debut at the Aiguebelette World Cup finishing 17th in the LM1X, later that year he raced at the Youth Olympic Games finishing 14th. In 2015 he raced at both the U23 and Senior World Championships finishing 17th at the U23’s and 22nd in the seniors. He secured his berth at the Olympics with an excellent 2nd place at the African Qualifying regatta and so far in 2016 he’s gained good experience racing at two of the three World Cups.

 

Uruguay

Esquivel

Jhonatan Esquivel

Age: 27

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: None

2016 record: 25th M1X Lucerne World Cup, 18th M1X Poznan World Cup, 6th at Americas Qualifying Regatta

Another sculler who made his senior international debut whilst still an U23, Esquivel raced in the M2x with Santiago Menese Camargo at the 2010 Lucerne World Cup finishing last. At the U23’s that year he and Camargo finished 18th out of 23 doubles. At the 2010 South American Games he took silver in all three sculling boats. He earned his place in Rio by finishing 6th at the Americas qualifying regatta.

 

Uzbekistan

Uzbek

Shakhboz Kholmurzaev

Age: 20

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: none

2016 record: None

Kholmurzaev made his international debut at the Bled International Regatta in 2015 finishing 11th in the LM2X with Islambek Mambetnazarov. He’s qualified for the Olympics by securing the final spot at the Asia and Oceania Qualifying regatta.

 

Vanuatu

Teilemb

Photo: niufm.com

Luigi Teilemb

Age: 24

Olympic Record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 19th LM2X 2013, 25th LM1X 2014, 38th M1X 2015

2016 record: 24th M1X Poznan World Cup

 

Venezuela

Monastario

Jakson Vicent Monasterio

Age: 24

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 33rd JM1X 2009

2016 record: 22nd M1X Lucerne World Cup, 22nd M1X Poznan World Cup. 7th Americas Qualifying regatta.

Whilst Monasterio has yet to race at a senior World Championships he has a good level of experience on the international stage. He competed at the 2nd and 3rd World Cups in 2010 in the LM2X finishing 16th and 22nd respectively. In 2013 he moved up to the heavyweight double and raced at the 2nd World Cup placing 12th. He didn’t compete in Europe in 2015 but did race in the M2X at the Pan Am Games coming 9th. He gained qualification for Rio by finishing 7th at the Americas Qualifying Regatta.

 

Zimbabwe

Purcell-Gilpin

Peter Purcell-Gilpin

Age: 22

Olympic record: 2016 Olympic debut

World Championship record: 33rd M1X 2015

2016 record: None

A student at the University of Birmingham, Purcell-Gilpin won the right to represent Zimbabwe at the Rio Games by finishing 4th at the African Qualifying Regatta. He also saw off the challenge of countryman Andrew Peebles who had raced for Zimbabwe at the 2014 World Championships. Purcell-Gilpin is no stranger to international completion, he raced at two U23 world Championships in 2013 and 2015 and also raced at the senior worlds in 2015 finishing 33rd out of 41.

 

So those are the competitors. Of the 32 entrants 22 of them are making their Olympic debuts with only one, Hannes Obreno, looking like he stands any chance of getting a medal (or making the A-Final). This goes to show that in this event, probably more than any other in the rowing programme, experience is crucial. The medals look likely to be a three-way battle between Drysdale & Synek (who have, between them, dominated this event for the last decade) and the “new kid on the block” Damir Martin. My heart says Drysdale to take his 2nd Olympic gold but my head says it’s going to be almost too close to call. There could also be some wildcards who upset the script with Fournier Rodriguez, Shcharbachenia, Obreno and even Campbell capable of getting among the medals.

 

Next up, the W1X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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