2016 European Rowing Championships will be a key Olympic test

Some of the top rowing nations in the world will test their Rio 2016 Olympic Games medal potential at the 2016 European Rowing Championships to be held in Brandenburg, Germany.

Of the more than 500 athletes competing from 34 European nations, host nation Germany has entered in all 17 boat classes with a squad of 52 rowers. The current top world and European rowing nation Great Britain has the next biggest squad with entries in 16 boat classes. This includes a newly-created men’s four, one of Great Britain’s most successful boats at the Olympic Games. The crew of Alex Gregory, Mohamed Sbihi, George Nash and Constantine Louloudis is considered to be the best of the British men’s squad.

Germany and Great Britain will race each other for the first time this season in the men’s eight. Germany is the Olympic Champion of the eight, but Great Britain has won the last three World Championships. Brandenburg will see the German-British rivalry continue.

The best subscribed boat class is the lightweight men’s double sculls with 17 nations entered. This includes the silver and bronze medallists from the recent World Rowing Cup I, Ireland and Belgium. Gary and Paul O’Donovan of Ireland have started the season well and will meet Tim Brys and Niels van Zandweghe of Belgium again. These crews will be watching out for Norway which will send the 2013 World Champions Are Strandli and Kristoffer Brun.

The women’s single sculls is the most subscribed of the women’s boat classes and includes six-time Olympian Ekaterina Karsten of Belarus. Karsten is back in the single after a stint in the women’s double sculls and took silver at World Rowing Cup I earlier this month. Karsten will face Ireland’s top sculler Sanita Puspure as well as Jeannine Gmelin of Switzerland.

The women’s pair will feature Great Britain’s Olympic, World and European Champions Helen Glover and Heather Stanning. They will compete for the first time internationally this season in Brandenburg. Their biggest competition is likely to come from Hedvig Rasmussen and Anne Andersen of Denmark who are also debuting their 2016 season in Brandenburg.

Two-time World Champions Valent and Martin Sinkovic of Croatia will face Germany’s Stephan Krueger and Marcel Hacker, who is back in the men’s double sculls, for the first time this season. The Sinkovic brothers finished first earlier this month at World Rowing Cup I in Varese, Italy.

Racing will take place on the Lake Beetzsee regatta course just outside the City of Brandenburg. The course was recently upgraded and has hosted the World Rowing Junior Championships and the World Rowing Under 23 Championships.

Rowing has staged European Championships since 1893 and it is one of the longest running sport championships on the international calendar. After a hiatus of 34 years, it was reinstated in 2007. This the first time that Germany will play host with Brandenburg marking the tenth edition after its reinstatement.

The European Rowing Championships is open to the 46 European national rowing federations, including Israel. There are 17 boat classes (14 Olympic events plus three International events) as Championship events.

The 2016 European Rowing Championships takes place from 6 to 8 May 2016 with finals starting at 10:33 (CET) on Sunday, 8 May. Full entries and provisional timetable can be found atwww.worldrowing.com.

Tom Morgan

Previous editor of Row360, publisher of Junior Rowing News, freelance writer for the Daily Telegraph, the Huffington Post, Vital Football and others. Student at the University of Southampton.

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