Final Olympic Rowing Spots Decided

The FISA European Continental and Final Olympic Qualification Regatta in Lucerne, Switzerland has brought the Rio 2016 Olympic qualification in rowing to completion with 25 countries adding boats to the Olympic roster.

A plucky performance by Turkey’s Huseyin Kandemir and Enes Kusku in the lightweight men’s double sculls earned them a spot in Rio. Turkey had to overcome the 2012 Olympic Champions, Denmark to get the qualifying spot. Finishing first and also qualifying was Belgium’s Tim Brys and Niels van Zandweghe. Brys and van Zandweghe, however, will have to wait for confirmation on their Olympic spot as their fellow countryman Hannes Obreno qualified today in the men’s single sculls. Only one male boat from each country is able to qualify from this regatta and Belgium’s National Olympic Committee will have to choose.

Obreno won the men’s single with Australia’s Rhys Grant and Bendeguz Petervari-Molnar of Hungary taking the other qualifying spots. These athletes will be first time Olympians in Rio.

Ekaterina Karsten of Belarus is off to her seventh Olympic Games after qualifying in the women’s single sculls. Karsten, 43, took gold at the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games in this boat class. Also qualifying in the women’s single was Emma Twigg of New Zealand, Sanita Puspure of Ireland and Fie Udby Erichsen of Denmark. All of these athletes competed at the London Olympic Games. Erichsen took silver while Twigg and Karsten finished fourth and fifth respectively. Twigg, the 2014 World Champion, was the overall winner and comes back after a year off from international racing.

Qualifying from the men’s double sculls was Norway’s Olaf Tufte and Kjetil Borch. At the 2000 Olympic Games Tufte took silver in the men’s double. He then went on to win back-to-back Olympic single sculling titles. At 40 years old, Rio will be Tufte’s sixth Olympic Games. Serbia’s Marko Marjanovic and Andrija Sljukic also qualified through the double.

One of the happiest crews of the day was Romania’s women’s eight. Having to race at this final Olympic qualification regatta is an unusual position for the Romanians. They are the 1996, 2000 and 2004 Olympic Champions of the eight. Today they beat the Netherlands to the line who also qualify for Rio.

The women’s quadruple sculls saw the reigning Olympic Champions, Ukraine battling it out with the 2008 Olympic Champions, China. With two boats qualifying from this boat class China and Ukraine secured those spots.

The men’s eight finished the regatta and came down to the line with three boats crossing within half a second of each other. The United States and Poland were the qualifiers with Italy just missing out on one of the two qualification spots by just 0.36 of a second.

All of the qualified boats will now need to be confirmed by their respective National Olympic Committees.

This article originally appeared at http://www.worldrowing.com/news/finals-are-set-for-rowing-final-olympic-qualification-regatta

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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