The 2019 World Rowing Championships doubling as the main qualification event for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games and this has potentially played a part in attracting a record number of countries.
To be held in Linz-Ottensheim, Austria from 25 August through to 1 September, the championships has attracted nearly 1200 athletes from 80 nations. This includes the biggest number of para-rowers ever at a World Rowing Championships. Of the para-rowing boat classes, the para PR1 men’s single sculls has the most entries with 27 nations taking part. The para PR1 women’s single sculls is also impressive with 14 countries entered.
Of the Olympic boat classes the men’s single sculls stands out with entries from 44 nations. This includes Olympic qualification favourites Angel Fournier Rodriguez from Cuba, Denmark’s Sverri Nielsen, Germany’s Oliver Zeidler and reigning World Champion Kjetil Borch of Norway.
The women’s single sculls is well represented with 39 nations entered. The home crowd will be cheering for Magdalena Lobnig of Austria who will be up against reigning World Champion Sanita Puspure of Ireland and 2017 World Champion Jeannine Gmelin of Switzerland. Added to this mix is the return to international racing of New Zealand’s Emma Twigg.
The lightweight men’s double sculls sees 33 nations taking part and so far this season the stand-out crew has been Jason Osborne and Jonathan Rommelmann of Germany. They will be up against Rio Olympic medallists and the longest-together crew of this boat class, Kristoffer Brun and Are Strandli of Norway. Olympic Champion from Rio, Pierre Houin of France will be racing with his new partner Hugo Beurey while silver medallist from Rio, Paul O’Donovan of Ireland has teamed up with Fintan McCarthy. This leaves O’Donovan’s Rio partner and brother, Gary to race in the lightweight men’s single sculls.
The women’s four will be racing for the first time as an Olympic qualification boat class and 16 countries have entered. Included in the mix is the United States crew which sees the return to international racing of 2012 Olympic Champion Caryn Davies, now 37 years old and aiming for Olympics number four.
Hoping to go for Olympics number eight is 46-year-old Ekaterina Karsten of Belarus. She is competing in the women’s single sculls. And also defying age and going for Olympics number seven is Olaf Tufte. The 43-year-old will stroke the men’s quadruple sculls for Norway.
Of the countries entered, the United States is sending the biggest team with entries in all 29 boat classes. Next is Italy with 25 boats entered, both Germany and China have entered 22 boats. The more recent rowing nations of Benin, Iran, Qatar and Trinidad and Tobago have all entered one boat.
Courtesy of World Rowing