Worlds warm-up for rowers in Austria

World Cup II is final competition ahead of Championships 20 Jun 2018
Sunset photo of rower in a boat on the water
Norway's Birgit Skarstein is the women's single sculls world champion
ⒸIgor Meijer/FISA
By Louise Wood | For the IPC

The Para rowing World Cup series moves to Linz-Ottensheim, Austria, where many of the top athletes will race head-to-head from Friday (22 June) in the last major competition before September’s World Championships.

Eight medal events are on the schedule, with 34 boats from 12 countries competing.

The most hotly-contested field will be the PR1 M1x [men’s single sculls] with 12 rowers vying for medals. Paralympic champion Roman Polianskyi has dominated the category so far this year. The Ukrainian already has two wins under his belt from the first World Cup in Belgrade, Serbia, and the Gavirate Regatta in Italy. Polianskyi's biggest challenge will come from Great Britain's Andrew Houghton and Italy's Fabrizio Caselli. The home nation also has two boats in the class with Klaus Dolleschal and Alexander Suppan both racing for the first time this season.

Norway’s world champion Birgit Skarstein will headline in the PR1 W1x [women’s single sculls]. Fresh from setting the world leading time in Belgrade, Skarstein will face Ukraine's Anna Sheremet and Italy's Anila Hoxha.

The PR2 Mix2x [mixed double sculls] will be contested by four crews. World champions from Netherlands Annika van der Meer and Corne de Koning are the ones to beat.

Both will also try to secure medals in their respective PR2 single sculls events. Van der Meer will take on France’s Perle Bouge in the PR2 W1x. De Koning will face Great Britain's Laurence Whiteley and Italy's Mirabile Gianfilippo in the PR2 M1x.

Paralympic champion Daniel Brown and world champion Oliver Stanhope from Great Britain will team up for the PR3 M2- [men’s pair]. They will row against two French crews and one from Italy.

Another Italian duo will compete in the PR3 Mix2x [mixed pair]. World Championship bronze medallists in the mixed coxed four, Italy's Luca Agoletto and Paola Protopapa will combine to take on boats from Austria and Ukraine.

Only Agoletto will row in the PR3 Mix4+ [mixed coxed four] along with teammates Lucilla Aglioti, Greta Muti, Tommaso Schettino and cox Giuseppe Di Capua. In the absence of world and Paralympic champions Great Britain, the Italian crew will battle for a medal with Ukraine.

The PR2 single sculls for both men and women are new events this year, alongside the PR3 M2- and the PR3 Mix2x. These four events are raced at World Cups but not at Paralympic Games.

More information on the World Rowing Cup II, which runs until 24 June, can be found on World Rowing’s website. Linz-Ottensheim will also be the site of the 2019 World Championships.

Meanwhile, this year’s World Championships are set for 9-16 September in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.