FIRST 2021 WORLD ROWING BEACH SPRINT CHAMPIONS CROWNED ON PRAIA DA TORRE

© Photography: Hugo Silva

On Portugal’s Praia da Torre in Oeiras, the second-ever World Rowing Beach Sprint Finals featured nearly 200 rowers from 25 nations – a mix of Olympians and experienced coastal rowers – finished today with eleven nations winning medals.After missing 2020 due to cancellation, the competitors combined sprinting across the beach with battling the waves in specially designed boats highlighting the innovative, new and exciting World Rowing format of Coastal Rowing known as “Beach Sprints”.

Spain topped the medal table with three golds, France picked up eight medals overall – one gold, six silver and one bronze and nine more of the 25 nations now return home with medals following the two days of finals.

For the first time, the 2021 World Rowing Beach Sprint Finals included racing for junior (under 19) athletes. Home nation Portugal was the first on top of the medal podium as Afonso Santos won the junior men’s solo. Mathias Soldati of France took the silver and it was the first of a run of silver medals for France as they finished second in every remaining A final on the first day of medal races.

Tunisia was also strong in the junior events with Hela Belhaje Mohamed taking gold in the women’s solo and Bilel Frigui bronze in the men’s solo on the first day. They joined forces to win bronze in the junior mixed double on the final day.

Spain’s coastal rowers started to show their strength towards the second half of Saturday, picking up gold in both of the mixed events – the coxed quad and the double. Having come second in the B final on the first day of finals, Spain’s junior rower Miguel Salas Cordoba joined forces with Jaime Soler Bernaldez to take gold in the junior men’s double at the start of the final day of racing.

Meanwhile, the gold medal race in the junior women’s double saw rowers from two nations earn their first medals with excellent navigation from Sweden securing them gold ahead of Japan.

The gold medal race in the men’s solo saw a showdown between Norway’s Olympic medallist from earlier this year Kjetil Borch and Italy’s Giovanni Ficarra who is a lightweight World U23 Champion from 2017. Ficarra had a fast start and flawless navigation, which even the incredible boat speed of Borch couldn’t match.

The last final of the day saw one of the closest races of the day when Canada’s Brienne Miller beat France’s Maya Cornut to the line by half a second, picking up the first medal for Canada.

For race reports, photos, race results and videos go to www.worldrowing.com

The 2022 edition of the World Rowing Beach Sprint Finals will be held in Saundersfoot, Great Britain on 14 – 16 October 2022.

[original article: Worldrowing.com]