#Rowing: The 2017 World Rowing Cup series starts in Belgrade, Serbia tomorrow (Friday), running until Sunday. The regatta has attracted rowers from 26 nations and ranking among the medal prospects are athletes who won medals at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. 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, with their most notable competition being two of Great Britain’s most experienced lightweight rowers – Peter Chambers and Will Fletcher.
Shane O’ Driscoll and Mark O’Donovan will race in the men’s pair, in both the lightweight and heavyweight categories. Two-time Olympian Sanita Puspure will once again compete in the women’s single sculls, while Denise Walsh will feature in the lightweight equivalent. Puspure will come up against frequent opponent and fellow Rio Olympian, Belarussian Ekaterina Karsten. Puspure lost out to Karsten in the quarter-finals in Rio and went on to finish five positions back from her, in 13th place.
This is the first of three World Cup events in 2017. The season opener is generally an opportunity for teams to experiment with athletes and crews and see which combinations may work for the season ahead. In this post-Olympic year, it will be particularly interesting to see what the opposition holds due to retirees, new athletes/combinations and new talent emerging.
Friday’s start times are as follows (Irish times/all heats):
Lightweight Women’s Single Scull
09:05 – Denise Walsh (Skibbereen RC)
09:30 – Mark O’ Donovan (Skibbereen RC)/Shane O’ Driscoll (Skibbereen RC)
Women’s Single Scull
10:20 – Sanita Puspure
Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls
10:50 – Gary O’ Donovan (Skibbereen RC)/Paul O’ Donovan (UCD BC)