World Championships Wrap-Up – Congratulations Aussies!

The 2018 Rowing World Championships were held in Plovdiv, Bulgaria between 9 and 16 September 2018, and this year saw the Balmain Para-Rowing Program’s James Talbot compete in an historic two events in the PR3 category – the mixed coxed four, and a new coxless pair event, introduced into the program for the first time this year.

James raced the pair with Torrens Rowing Club’s Jed Altschwager, and in a very competitive field they obtained an incredibly strong result, coming home with the silver medal.  James, who raced with his School, SCEGGS Redlands prior to rowing with Balmain, partnered with new rower Jed, who has only been rowing for 18 months, but was identified by Rowing Australia and Torrens RC as a potential para-athlete following the Rio Paralympics.  

James and Jed racing in the PR3 Pair

James and Jed were narrowly beaten by Canada, but held off France to take the Silver in a very fast A Final. Video of the race is available on the Eurovision Sports Streaming website, and full results for that race are available here.

Later in the week, James backed up to race in the A Final of the PR3 coxed Four.  The Aussies were down a female rower as Kate Murdoch had to withdraw due to injury, but (and perhaps showing a new depth of talent in the Aussie para space), nevertheless made the A final, and raced strongly, knocking off some 15 seconds from their heat time.  

Ultimately the Para Four was unable this year to obtain a medal, finishing fifth, but the signs are there for a very strong campaign leading into the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.  Full results available here.

Congratulations to all!

About the Course

The regatta course in Plovdiv is an artificial canal measuring 2300m in length. It was specially designed by architect Valentine Marinov, with chief consultant Svetla Otzetova (World Rowing’s Technical Delegate) to meet contemporary requirements for major water sports events.

The course was built to be surrounded by natural forests and offer fair and equal wind conditions across all lanes. It is known for fast conditions due to warm water and the prevalence of a direct tail wind. The venue has hosted many international rowing events, including the World Rowing Under 23 Championships in 2015 and 2017.

The first World Rowing Championships was staged in Lucerne, Switzerland in 1962. Initially held every four years, the championships soon became an annual event. It is the biggest annual World Rowing event. At the 2017 World Rowing Championships, 69 nations raced with a total of 900 athletes. The year prior, 2016 being an Olympic year, the World Rowing Championships included only non-Olympic boat classes and was combined with the junior and under-23 championships with 1800 athletes competing.

Rowing became an Olympic sport in 1896, at the first Olympic Games of the modern era held in Athens, Greece. Rough seas in the Piraeus harbour, however, forced the event to be cancelled which is why rowing won its first Olympic medals four years later in Paris. Women’s events were added to the Olympic programme in 1976 and lightweight events in 1996. Para-rowing first appeared at the Paralympic Games in 2008.

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