Dutch dominance at first World Rowing Cup of the season

Women’s Eight, 2018 World Rowing Cup I, Belgrade, Serbia

For immediate release
Belgrade, 3 June 2018

The 2018 World Rowing season promises to be an exciting one following a large medal spread at World Rowing Cup I in Belgrade, Serbia. Three days of racing concluded with 21 countries earning medals on the Ada Ciganlija regatta course on Sava Lake.

But it was the dominant performance of the team from the Netherlands that really turned heads. Topping the medals table was the Netherlands with seven golds, two silvers and one bronze medal. The Dutch were particularly strong in the women’s sweep races as they took first and second in the women’s four and then the same athletes doubled up to race in the women’s eight where they won gold. The Dutch also won gold in the men’s four, lightweight women’s double sculls, women’s double sculls, women’s quadruple sculls and para PR2 mixed double sculls.

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Germany took home two gold medals: one in the men’s eight, the boat class that they hold the current World Championship title in, and the second in the lightweight men’s single sculls with Jason Osborne dominating the race.

The two reigning World Champions in the men’s and women’s single sculls showed that they mean to continue from where they left off at the end of the 2017 season by clinching wins here. The Czech Republic’s Ondrej Synek took his first World Cup gold for the season ahead of Switzerland’s Roman Roeoesli and sculling newcomer Oliver Zeidler of Germany. Jeannine Gmelin of Switzerland topped the podium in the women’s single sculls. She was raced to the line by Sanita Puspure of Ireland and Magdalena Lobnig from Austria.

The weekend’s racing opened with Norway’s Birgit Skarstein setting a new World Best Time in the para PR1 women’s single sculls. Skarstein is a dual-sport athlete. She competed earlier this year in the PyeongChang Paralympics in cross-country skiing. In Belgrade, Skarstein took gold in her para-rowing event.

Norway won a second medal, a bronze in the men’s quadruple sculls. Their boat was stroked by the legendary Olaf Tufte who at 42-years-old is a veteran of six Olympic Games and is currently working towards the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Ahead of Norway in the men’s quad were Great Britain in gold and Germany in silver.

The strong performance of the Netherlands earned them 60 points and the top spot on the World Rowing Cup leader board, with Great Britain in second place with 46 points, just ahead of Germany with 43 points. These three nations will be looking to add to those points at the second regatta in Linz-Ottensheim in three weeks’ time, from 21-24 June.

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 (1-3 June), Linz-Ottensheim, AUT (21-24 June) and Lucerne, SUI (13-15 July).