Double Dutch delight in Poznan

De Koning and Van der Meer row through rough conditions 24 Jun 2019
female and male Para rower Annika van der Meer and Corne de Koning celebrate in their boat

Corne de Koning and Annika van der Meer celebrate victory at the Plovdiv World Champs

ⒸFISA/Igor Meijer
By Louise Wood | For the IPC

"My rivals always make me train and race hard"

It was double delight for Dutch pair Corne de Koning and Annika Van der Meer at the Para rowing World Cup in Poznan, Poland. Together they captured gold in the PR2 mixed double sculls (PR2 Mix2x) on Sunday, a perfect follow up from their respective individual races on Saturday.

De Koning won the PR2 M1x ahead of Canada's Jeremy Hall and Ukraine's Iaroslav Koiuda. Van der Meer was too strong for Great Britain's Lauren Rowles in the women's equivalent PR2 W1x.

Partnering up, they battled against a head wind to hold off competition in the PR2 Mix2x from home crew Poland in second place and France in third.

"Today we really focused on our technique," said De Koning. "We know our strengths and so we rowed long and well. We’re quite used to the conditions as we both raced yesterday [Saturday] so we knew what to expect and how to share the pain.”

It is a timely confidence boost for the pair heading to their home World Cup round in July.

"I hope to race some more in the single this year, but it depends on the entries," explained Van der Meer. "Of course we’ll be in Rotterdam, and hopefully, there is good competition there."

Single sculls success

The PR1 men's single sculls (PR1 M1x) was once again a fight between Paralympic champion Ukraine's Roman Polianskyi and world champion Australia's Erik Horrie.

Polianskyi was on top for the second race in a row, with Great Britain's Ben Pritchard in third.

“I’m very happy! My rivals always make me train and race hard. I’m used to these tough conditions as I train often in similar weather," said Polianskyi.

The women's single sculls (PR1 W1x) was once again comfortably won by world champion Norway's Birgit Skarstein. Ukraine's Anna Sheremet and France's Nathalie Benoit were second and third, respectively.

“The water is really rough at the start, it felt like open water rowing," commented Skarstein. "Ukraine and France were still keeping up so I just went for it in the last 500 metres. It’s a great feeling to win!”

US triumph

The US crew of Alexandra Reilly, Todd Vogt, Charley Nordin, Danielle Hansen and cox Karen Petrik took full advantage of the absence of Paralympic and world champions Great Britain to step up and take gold in the PR3 mixed coxed four (PR3 Mix4+). They crossed the line ahead of Italy and France.

“It’s great to be here at our first World Cup this season and get a medal. I think it’s good momentum going into Worlds and we are looking forward to that and racing other crews," said Hansen.

The title in the PR3 men's pair (PR3 M2-) went to Jerome Hamelin and Laurent Viala of France who were bronze medallists at last year's World Championships. They were the fastest pair powering home ahead of Ukraine and India.

World Cup action resumes in Rotterdam from 12-14 July. It will be the final test ahead of August’s World Championships in Linz Ottensheim, Austria.