The 2017 World Rowing Cup series starts in Belgrade, Serbia from 5 to 7 May and entries for this regatta have been released.
The regatta has attracted rowers from 26 nations with the biggest contingents coming from the Netherlands, Poland and Great Britain. Ranking among the medal prospects are athletes that won gold medals at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. They include British Olympic Champion in the men’s four Mohamed Sbihi. Sbihi will continue in the four at this regatta and will be joined by Olympic Champion from the men’s eight, William Satch, among others. They will face tough competition from the Netherlands, which placed fifth at the Rio Olympics.
Ireland’s O’Donovan brothers Paul and Gary are back together for 2017 following their Olympic silver medal performance in the lightweight men’s double sculls. The O’Donovans will face the experienced duo Richard Chambers and Will Fletcher from Great Britain. In the lightweight women’s double sculls 2012 Olympic Champion Katherine Copeland is back with Charlotte Booth (nee Taylor). They will face Rio Olympians Weronika Deresz and Martyna Mikolajczak of Poland.
The men’s single sculls may turn into a Croatian showdown with Olympic silver medallist Damir Martin facing off against Martin Sinkovic. Sinkovic took gold in the men’s double sculls at Rio. Also in the mix is the talented Angel Fournier Rodriguez of Cuba. The women’s single sculls has Olympian Magdalena Lobnig of Austria meeting Rio 2016 silver medallist Great Britain’s Victoria Thornley. Bronze medallist from the Rio double, Milda Valciukaite of Lithuania will also be in the single in Belgrade.
As the first regatta of the season and the first race of this post-Olympic year, Belgrade will be an opportunity for crews to check on the progress they have made in off-season training. It is also a time for new rowers to come through into the senior ranks following inevitable post-Olympic retirements or the usual one-year time-off from sport by others.
In 2016, the World Rowing Cup series was won by New Zealand with Great Britain second and the Netherlands third. In the absence of New Zealand and with Great Britain and the Netherlands both entering 17 boats, Belgrade is likely to see strong racing between these two countries.
Racing begins on Friday, 5 May 2017 at 10:00 CET with heats. It then progresses through repechages and semifinals to the finals which will begin at 11:10 CET on Sunday, 7 May. There will be a live host television signal of the A-finals distributed through the European Broadcasting Union in Europe and many other channels around the world as well as live video streaming on www.worldrowing.com.
The World Rowing Cup series was launched in 1997 and consists of a series of three events. The overall World Rowing Cup winners are determined after the third event. This year, the three stages of the series are Belgrade, SRB (5-7 May), Poznan, POL (16-18 June) and Lucerne, SUI (7-9 July).