Another World Championships has come and gone, and there is no doubt athletes and attendees will look back at this as one of best rowing events held this past year. Upon arrival at the course, you can’t help but notice the newness of the venue, which was completed in 2012. Early in the week, the final touches were being installed to fully prepare the grounds for the World Championships (I even watched a crew lay the final pavers in the walkway connecting the main building to the brand new boat bays).
The races were spread out over an entire week with heats, reps, semis and finals so there never was a lack of racing to watch. Despite the high heat and humidity, and one day of tremendous rain, the Korean organizing committee and FISA were able to run all the races on time and without any problems. FISA has also made an effort to include more developing nations in international racing, and this was most apparent in the M1x which had over 30 entries. Uzbekistan, Zambia, Sudan, Cuba, Malaysia, Moldova, and Namibia were just a few of the countries who sent athletes to compete.
With so many close races and such a large competitive field, it’s hard to pinpoint one race that stood out. It was exciting to watch all the athletes work their way to the finals over a tough week of racing. As anticipated, the USA W8+ held onto their winning streak with another gold medal. The New Zealand M2x won their event with ease and set a record for 16 consecutive gold medals. In the W1x, it was a close race between Emma Twigg of New Zealand, Mirka Knapkova from the Czech Republic, and Kim Crow from Australia, but Kim Crow was able to hold off her competitors to finish 1st, ahead of Twigg (silver) and Olympic gold medalist Knapkova (bronze).
The M1x was the largest event. After giving in to a rib injury Mayhe Drysdale (New Zealand) had to withdraw from the races, leaving Ondrej Synek (Czech Republic) to take the gold in front of the mostly unknown rower, Angel Fournier Rodriquez from Cuba. In the few years that Rodriquez has been on the international rowing scene, he has quickly proven himself to be powerful. Winning silver allowed him to bring home the first ever rowing medal for Cuba. There is no doubt we will be seeing more of Angel in the future. The Men’s 8+ closed out the event with Great Britain, Germany and USA coming in 1st, 2nd and 3rd. This was the first victory ever for Great Britain in this event.
Concept2 represented a large presence at the event with over 77% of all gold medalists rowing with Concept2 oars. Six gold medals were awarded to boats using the Skinny shaft. We also had over 100 ergs on site for athletes to use for training and warm-up. With the World Championships marking the end of our international regatta season, we are looking forward to starting up again in March 2014 for World Cup 1 down in Australia.