World Rowing Cup,Eton Dorney,Saturday 22nd June 2013

One of the standout events and successes at London 2012 was the rowing which took place at the rather plush Eton College Rowing Club and such was the class organisation of it that they were awarded the second regatta in this three regatta series with the first one held back in March at Sydney,Australia. 

Today saw a total of twenty three races,four of the opening five were the main finals of the Para Rowing all held over a 1000m course with the remaining races which were semi finals and the B finals all held over the standard 2000m race distance. 
The facilities today might not have been in the same mould as the Olympics but the crowd itself was not all that big although I fully expect it to be packed to the gunnels on the Sunday for the main finals which form part of the series. 
This was my first venture into the world of rowing,I always catch it when the Olympics is on but I wanted to give new sports a try this year with rowing being one of them so while this report will no doubt lack the credibility of a real rowing journalist I shall endeavour to do my best. 
Thankfully though unlike the horse racing reports here I won’t be reviewing every single race. 
Due to the weather forecasts today was a revised schedule with the first race at 9am and a lot of the races were starting when the current race in progress reached the halfway stage, personally this was a good idea as it kept the flow of races going and made it even more enjoyable. 
The finish of the day was no doubt the B Final of the Men’s Pair, in this one each rower only has one oar and it went the way of Team GB who just held off a late rallying charge from the China1 boat and hung on by 0.57 seconds, if this race was over 2200m then it would have been a Chinese celebration. 
The easiest final was the B Final of the Lightweight Men’s Fours,this is four rowers with an oar each and only two in this race which went to Brazil who over took a fast starting Egypt and won on the bridle or whatever the equivalent is in rowing. 
Below,Brazil easily defeat Egypt. 
One interesting contest was the B Final of the Women’s Double Sculls, only three boats which were China 1 and China 3 plus Korea so an intriguing battle here which was top and tailed by China 3 finishing first with China 1 in third and Korea being the meat in the sandwich. 
The main medal events though today were the finals of the Para Rowing,even though the athletes for this train over the traditional 2000m or 1m 550 yards in old money they still race over 1000m and they want the distance increased which hopefully will happen in time. 
First up was the B Final of the ASM1x, this is the Arms and Shoulders Men’s Single Sculls which is mainly for rowers with spinal cord injury of double amputation, The race here only had two which easily went to Poland who put the Irish boat in its place from the first stroke,no medals in this race and it only filled in the final positions of sixth and seventh. 
Second race was the A Final of the ASW1x,same as before but female rowers and if their was betting in this then it would have been a bookies benefit as the favourite Alla Lysenko from Ukraine who won this event in the 2012 Paralympics suffered a defeat to Russia who took over midway through and never looked like being caught with Norway getting third. 
Below,The medal ceremony. 
Third up was the A final of the first race the ASM1x and it was success and cheers down the lake as Team GB celebrated with an emphatic win by Tom Aggar who did what he so desperately wanted to do at 2012,taking over after 500m it was never in doubt,Russia got the forecast up with the second GB boat back in third spot to the huge cheers of the Eton Dorney faithful. 
Below,Tom Aggar (middle) winner of the gold medal. 
Fourth final of the day and it was the TAMix2x, this is the Trunk and Arms mixed doubles for rowers who cannot use a sliding seat but have use of their trunks, it was Viva la France here on the water as France got the win holding off Israel in second and USA back in the third spot. 
Below,Medalists of the TAMix2x
The last final was the LTAMix4+ and this is a mixed,coxed boat aimed at rowers minimal impairments or some visual impairment, This race became the second big win of the day for Team GB as the rowers who won Paralympic Gold came back to the adulation of the crowd to show the class is still in the boat after last year, this was a popular win and the crowd showed their love and affection during the medal presentation although the fact they only had one opponent in Ukraine didn’t matter as they put on a thoroughly professional show on the water. 
Below,Team GB and Ukraine get their medals after the race. 
This was a nice enough event to attend,The organisation was good with a knowledgable and respectful crowd cheering all the winners and competitors no matter who they represented. 
British Rowing is in a good place at the moment and the huge impact of 2012 has showed with reports in the official programme reporting of clubs being over subscribed of people wanting to try it and become rowers. 
As an event it works well, the races have four commentators working which helps keep things fresh with lots of races taking place during the day. 
Rowing is a very tough sport indeed, today we had a real mix of weather,the sun tried to appear but sometimes the conditions were like being at Towcester or Ludlow in midwinter as it got quite cold plus the rain didn’t help but as I’m used to being out in the middle of the jumps season I did what anyone else would do and just saw it out to the bitter end even if I felt like a drowned rat. 
Below a few images from yesterday,here we have Eton College Rowing Club. 
My view from the stands. 
Race Control 
Thank you for reading,next review is Haydock Park in two weeks,back to horses and its the Lancashire Oaks and the Old Newton Cup.