The 2020 European Rowing Championships in Poznan, Poland saw an impressive eight gold medals for the Netherlands with Italy and Romania winning four each.
Ukraine made a strong opening statement in the para rowing events with a silver for Anna Sheremet in the PR1 women’s single sculls and gold for Roman Polianskyi in the equivalent men’s event. The Netherlands demonstrated they can also win medals in the para rowing world with a comfortable win for Annika van Der Meer and Corne de Koning in the PR2 mixed double sculls.
It was Martine Veldhuis who began the Dutch medal haul, winning the lightweight women’s single sculls. Meanwhile the young Swiss sculler, Sofia Meakin proved she is one to be watched as she came through to take silver in the closing stages of the same race.
Three consecutive gold medals ensued for Italy as they took victory in the para PR3 mixed four and the lightweight women’s and men’s quadruple sculls, with Germany taking the silver medals in the two lightweight events.
Romania won gold medals in three consecutive races; the women’s and men’s pair, and the women’s double sculls. The Romanian men’s pair of Marius-Vasile Cozmiuc and Ciprian Tudosa beat the World Champions Martin and Valent Sinkovic of Croatia in an exciting upset. The men’s double sculls title went to the Netherlands before the country followed it up with wins in the women’s and men’s four and the lightweight women’s double sculls.
It started to feel like the speakers were broken with the ‘Wilhelmus’ – the Dutch national anthem – becoming a familiar sound across Poznan’s Lake Malta. But Italy interrupted the Dutch domination by winning the lightweight men’s double sculls in one of the closest finishes of the day. The photo finish confirmed that Italy had beaten Germany to the line by just 0.13 seconds.
The Dutch were then back on the medals podium with wins in the women’s and men’s quadruple sculls, with Germany and Italy winning silver respectively.
Whilst the women’s single sculls title went to double World Champion Sanita Puspure of Ireland, the men’s single sculls provided one of the most exciting races of the championships with the leading places changing in the final stages of the race. The 2019 World silver medallist Sverri Nielsen of Denmark took gold at the line with local Polish sculler Natan Wegrzycki-Szymczyk seemingly benefitting from the home support to come from nowhere in the closing stages and take silver. Reigning World Champion Oliver Zeidler of Germany could only manage fourth behind bronze medallist Kjetil Borch of Norway.
The closing charge from Germany in the women’s eight was enough to despatch the Netherlands, but the German’s couldn’t overcome the strong performance from Romania. Germany led the final of the men’s eights from start to finish in the last race of the day.
The 2021 European Rowing Championships will move to Varese, Italy in April next year.
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