Rowing stars set for Poznan World Cup

Competition carries World Championships implications 20 Jun 2019
female Para rower Birgit Skarstein smiling with her medal on the podium

Birgit Skarstein is one of the ones to watch at the 2018 Worlds

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

The Para rowing season continues with the World Cup from 21-23 June in Poznan, Poland, in what promises to be thrilling competition with qualification for the 2019 World Championships and 2020 Paralympics on the horizon.

World champion Birgit Skarstein hits the water for the first time this year in the women's PR1 single sculls (PR1 W1x). After a successful Para Nordic season, the Norwegian will look to put down a marker ahead of the World Championships in August. In the absence of Israel's Moran Samuel, she will face five other boats including Germany's Sylvia Pille-Steppat and the USA's Hallie Smith.

Rivalries resumed

Old adversaries will clash in both the men's PR1 single sculls (PR1 M1x) and the PR3 mixed coxed fours (PR3 Mix4+).

Paralympic champion Ukraine's Roman Polianskyi got the better of Australia’s world champion Erik Horrie in the PR1 M1x in Gavirate, Italy, at the International Regatta in May.

Horrie will be looking to turn the tables in Poznan. But both men will have to look over their shoulders with two British rowers, the experienced Andrew Houghton and newcomer Ben Pritchard, looking to break their monopoly in this event.

The British crew in the PR3 Mix4+ will once again go head-to-head with the US boat who pushed them hard at last year's Worlds. Ellen Buttrick, Giedre Rakauskaite, James Fox and Oliver Stanhope with cox Erin Wysocki-Jones won last time out in Gavirate and will try to maintain Britain's dominance in this event.

Doubling up

Not only will British pair Oliver Stanhope and James Fox race in the PR3 Mix4+, but they will team up in the PR3 men's pair (PR3 M2-). They are up against four other crews from France, Germany, Ukraine and India.

Another rower who will compete in two events in Poland is Netherland's Corne de Koning. He will take on four challengers in the men's PR2 single sculls (PR2 M1x), where he will be up against Canada's Jeremy Hall, as well as boats from Italy and Ukraine.

De Koning will also partner Annika van der Meer in the PR2 mixed double sculls (PR2 Mix2x). They will be looking to extend their unbeaten run stretching from last season.

Another British crew, Lauren Rowles and Laurence Whiteley, will aim to make up ground on the Dutch pair after finishing 10 seconds off the pace in Gavirate. The home crowd will have plenty to shout about in this race with Polish pair Michal Gadowski and Jolanta Majka giving them the best chance of a podium.

The Para rowing World Cup will host 45 boats from 17 countries all building toward the 2019 World Championships in Linz Ottensheim, Austria, from 25 August to 1 September.