World Cup Preview part 3 – Lightweights

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Linz Ottensheim


With racing starting in a few hours I better get a move on….



15 crews

Jason Osborne of Germany dominated this event in Belgrade beating Switzerland’s Michael Schmid by a whopping 8 seconds. Osborne was a member of the LW2X that finished 9th in Rio and 6th in Sarasota. The field maybe a little more competitive in Linz but he will still start as favourite.

The main challenger to Osborne will most likely be James Lassche of New Zealand. He was a member of the NZ LM4 between 2012 and 2016 winning silver in 2014 and finishing 5th at the Rio Olympics. With the demise of the LM4- as an Olympic event he switched to heavyweight and gained a seat in the M8 that finished 6th at the World Championships. Now back among the lightweights, Linz will be his first international race in a sculling boat.

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Jason Osborne of Germany. Photo: Filippi_Deutschland

Another medal contender is Switzerland’s Michael Schmid. He was in the LM2X in Rio that finished 13th and then in 2017 he won the LM1X European Championships and placed 4th at the Worlds. In Belgrade he took silver behind Osborne.

Germany have a 2nd sculler entered, Jonathan Rommelmann. He took bronze in Belgrade and was the German LM1X at the World Championships finishing 13th.

4th in Belgrade was Norway’s Ask Jarl Toem, this was his best result since winning a bronze medal at the 1st World Cup in 2016. He raced at both the U23 and Senior World Championships last year finishing 19th in the BLM1X and 15th in the LM4X in Florida.

James Temple of Great Britain made his senior debut at the 1st World Cup racing as the 2nd LM2X in Belgrade and finished 13th. He represented GB at the U23 World Championships in 2017 finishing 4th in the LM4X.

Italian Martino Goretti made his senior debut back in 2005 and is a triple World champion in the LM8. He raced in the LM4X in Sarasota finishing 4th. He raced in the LM4- at both the London and Rio Olympics. He finished just outside of the medals at Rio and then in 2017 switched to the LM4X placing 4th in Sarasota. He’s certainly the most experienced member of the field.

Brazil’s Uncas Batista is the reigning U23 BLM1X world Champion and finished his 2017 season placing 6th at the Senior World Championships, at 21 years of age he will be targeting the U23’s again this year and could become Brazil’s 1st senior World Champion in the next few years.

Also racing are Hamish Parry of Australia, Paul Sieber and Rainer Kepplinger of Austria, Zhiyuan Zhang of China, Joona Petaejniemi of Finland, Thibault Colard of France and Swiss number 2 Florin Rueedi.

My picks…Osborne to win again if he sculls as well as he did in Belgrade with Goretti of Italy in silver and Schmid of Switzerland in bronze.



13 scullers

Alena Furman of Belarus was the winner in Belgrade, her first gold medal since winning the U23 World Championships in 2012. She raced as an openweight throughout the Rio Olympiad finishing 15th in the W2-.

Her main challenger could well be a pair of German scullers, Marie-Louise Draeger (GER2) makes her first international appearance since finishing 11th in the LW2X at the Rio Olympics. The 37 year-old started her senior career back in 2001 and she’s a three-time World Champion and three-time Olympian.

Racing as GER1 is Katrin Thoma. She raced in the LW2X in Belgrade with Leonie Pless that finished 8th. She was a member of the LW4X between 2014 and 2016 winning gold, silver and bronze.

Another experienced sculler is Poland’s Joanna Dorociak. 9th in the LW2X at Belgrade and 4th at the World Championships. Her best result in the LW1X was a silver medal at the Poznan World Cup in 2017.

Anastasia Lebedeva of Russia made the A-Final in Belgrade. She raced in the LW2X at the World Championships finishing 12th.

The USA have two scullers racing in Linz. Emily Schmieg and Christine Cavallo.  Schmieg, from Philadelphia, raced in the LW2X at the World Championships winning a bronze medal. Cavallo (racing as USA2) made her senior debut in the 2nd LW2X boat at Belgrade finishing 11th.

Another sculler to watch is Italy’s Clara Guerra, she’s the reigning U23 silver medallist and former Junior World Champion and finished 8th at the Senior Worlds.

The final sculler to mention is Sweden’s Emma Fredh. Her performance in Belgrade was somewhat disappointing when she only finished 12th, the first time in 6 events that she failed to make the A-Final. In 2016 she won silver at the World Championships and last year became European Champion. Not sure why she under-performed in Belgrade but I expect her to be stronger in Linz.

Also racing are Austria’s Anja Manoutscheri (7th at the U23 Worlds), 2 Chinese scullers – debutant Zaozhao Lei and Chunqin Kuang (15th in the LW2X in Belgrade) and a 2nd Swedish sculler Lovisa Wallin (16th in Belgrade).

My picks….Furman ahead of Draeger with Fredh in 3rd



21 doubles

All eyes in this event will be on the French. Jeremie Azou surprised the rowing world by announcing his retirement earlier this year. This left a big gap to fill and the French have selected Thomas Baroukh to partner Olympic Champion Pierre Houin. Baroukh raced in the M2+ at the World Championships last year and was a member of the LM4- that won bronze at the Rio Olympics. Given how dominant the duo of Azou and Houin were it’s a big challenge for Baroukh.

One crew that are noticeable by their absence are the Irish O’Donovan brothers. Funding issues means the Irish aren’t attending this World Cup, there was some discussion that the O’Donovan’s would fund the trip themselves, but have, instead, chosen to race at Henley.

The biggest challengers to the French are the Italians. Stefano Oppo and Pietro Ruta won silver behind the French in Sarasota. Ruta is a hugely experienced sculler and raced at both the London and Rio Olympics. Oppo also raced at Rio finishing 4th in the LM4-. He then went on to win gold at the U23 World Championships. Italy have a strong 2nd boat racing as well with U23 World Champion Gabriel Soares joined by World LM2- Silver medallist Alfonso Scalzone.

Norway are strong medal prospects as well. The 2013 World Champions, Are Strandli and Kristofer Brun won bronze at the Rio Olympics. Brun raced in the single last season winning bronze at the World Championships. It appears they had some issues making weight in Belgrade as they raced in the heavyweight division, making the A-Final.

Winners in Belgrade were the Poles, Jerzy Kowalski and Milosz Jankowski. They finished 4th at the World Champs.

2nd in Belgrade were the Belgians Tim Brys and Niels Van Zandweghe. They made the A-Final of the World Championships last year and will forever be remembered as the crew that missed out on a place at the Olympics despite winning the Qualifying Regatta.

Great Britain have two boats racing. Sam Mottram and Zak Lee-Green. They finished 8th in Belgrade. Mottram finished 10th in this boat class at the World Championships and Lee-Green was silver in the LM4X. The 2nd GB crew is Jamie Copus and Gavin Horsburgh. Copus raced the single in Belgrade and partnered Mottram in the LM2X last year. Horsburgh raced as GBR2 in Belgrade that finished 13th. He was a crew mate of Lee-Green in the silver medal quad.

The final crew to mention are the new Kiwi pair Benjamin Van Dalen and Matt Dunham. Van Dalen is making his senior debut following two years in the U23 squad. Dunham won silver in the LM1X last season. The Kiwis always produce fast combinations so it remains to be seen what sort of speed this new pairing has.

My picks…Italy ahead of the French with the Norwegians in bronze.



17 crews

This has the potential to be one of the most competitive events at the regatta with the gold and silver medallists from 2017, and the Olympic champions all racing. Romania are the reigning World Champions, Gianina-Elena Beleaga and Ionela-Livia Cozmiuc. They are one of the rare crews that win both U23 and Senior World Championships in the same season.


World champions Gianina-Elena Beleaga and Ionela-Livia Cozmiuc of Romania. Photo: mediafax

Silver medallists in Sarasota were the Kiwis, Zoe McBride and Jackie Kiddle. McBride won the LW1X World Championships in 2016 and set a World Best Time in the process. Kiddle won the U23 World Championships in 2016 and then took gold in the LW1X at both the 2nd and 3rd World Cups.

The Netherlands, Marieke Keijser and Ilse Paulis were winners in Belgrade. Paulis is the reigning Olympic Champion and Keijser won silver in the LW1X last season.

Australia have two boats racing, AUS1 Georgia Miansarrow and Georgia Nesbitt and AUS2 Amy James and Alice Arch. All four of these athletes were in the LW4X that won silver last season.

Great Britain also have two boats racing Ellie Piggott was partnered by Emily Craig in Belgrade taking 3rd. Craig unfortunately is ill so her place is taken by Fran Rawlins. She raced as GBR2 in Belgrade winning the C-Final. GBR2 are Maddy Arlett and Gemma Hall. They were members of the LW4X that finished 5th last year.

Italy have two U23 medallists in their crew, Valentina Rodini is the reigning U23 champion from the BLW4X and Federica Cesarini won silver in the BLW2X.  Cesarini is also the reigning senior World Champion in the LW4X. Rodini raced in the LW2X in Sarasota finishing 8th.

My picks….the Netherlands ahead of Romania with New Zealand in 3rd.

That’ll have to do….I’ve run out of time. Apologies for the slightly truncated preview (and the lack of LM2- and LM4X).


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