Israel’s Samuel aims for first world title

Moran Samuel is coming off a big World Cup win and hopes to ride that into a world title in the AS women's single sculls. 29 Aug 2015
Three women smiling.

Nathalie Benoit of France (silver), Alla Lysenko of Ukraine (gold) and Moran Samuel of Israel (bronze) celebrate with their medals after the Adaptive ASW1x final during day five of the FISA Rowing World Championships at Lake Bled on 1 Septemeber 2011 in Bled, Slovenia.

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By Fran Brown | For the IPC

“It has been a good season for me; I feel that I have improved my technique."

Israel’s Moran Samuel upset Norway’s defending world champion Birgit Skarstein back in June’s World Cup II in Varese, Italy. Now, Samuel will look to replicate that performance where it matters most – at the 2015 World Rowing Championships, which being Sunday (30 August) in Aiguebelette, France.

The para-rowing heats will begin on 31 August, and medals up for grabs are in the AS men’s and women’s single sculls (ASM1x and ASW1x), TA mixed double sculls (TAMix2x) and LTA mixed coxed fours (LTAMix4+).

Samuel defeated Skarstein – the 2014 AS women’s single sculls world champion – by nearly six seconds in Varese. But competition will be different in Aiguebelette with world medals at stake. In addition to Skarstein, Samuel will also need to keep tabs on Brazil’s Claudia Santos, who has been competing since 2007.

“When I go out to the course, the only one I am focused on is myself,” Samuel said. “I need to do my best without thinking about my competitors. I want to beat myself, and if I'll do that, I'll be satisfied.”

“Every training and every competition I want to prove myself I got better,” she added. “Sometimes you can give 110 per cent and break your personal record, but finish in fourth place, and does it mean you lost? Not in my eyes. I want to do my best at Worlds, and hopefully my best will be good for a medal.”

Samuel finds confidence in her training, and the win in Varese certainly provided a huge boost. She already holds a Worlds silver from 2013 and Worlds bronze from 2011.

“It has been a good season for me; I feel that I have improved my technique,” Samuel said. “My coach helped me understand rowing better, and when you understand it, you can take it with you to the boat. I also gained some more muscles, which is important when you use such a small part of your body.”

“We spent the last month in a training camp in Italy at our coach, Paola Grizzetti, rowing club in Gavirate,” the 33-year-old said. “The training before such a big competition like the World Championships is all about getting ready mentally and physically to reach your peak at the right time, so you do more simulations than during the rest of the season.”

In the AS men’s single sculls, Australia’s reigning world champion Erik Horrie will be challenged by Russia’s Aleksey Chuvashev and Great Britain’s Tom Aggar. It will be a closely fought race with the largest field of 24 boats.

Australia is also looking good in the TA mixed double sculls with Kathryn Ross and Gavin Bellis the winners at Varese. They also have two World Championship titles. Challenging will be Brazil’s Josiane Lima and Michel Gomes Pessanha, who took bronze last year.

The British have been the ones to beat in the LTA mixed coxed fours, having not lost a race since 2011.

The World Rowing Championships run until 6 September. Full results and schedule can be found at World Rowing’s website.