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Bakker bags bronze in Rio de Janeiro

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Australia’s Adam Bakker secured a bronze medal in the A-Final fo the Junior Men’s Single Sculls at the 2015 World Rowing Junior Championships in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil overnight. Meanwhile, three other Australian crews competed in A-Finals, the Junior Men’s Coxed Four, the Junior Women’s Double Scull and the Junior Women’s Coxed Eight.

The 18-year-old Bakker from Brisbane battled to a photo-finish with Germany’s Henrik Runge, with the young German taking the silver medal while Italy’s Giacomo Gentili took the gold. Runge had the fastest start but only had a fraction of a lead over Gentili, Bakker and Alexis Lopez Garcia of Mexico.

At the half-way point Runge still had a small lead but no way was it enough to feel any level of comfort, and Gentili saw his opportunity and upped his stroke rate and began to pull away from the pack. With 500 metres left to row, the Australian Nudgee College schoolboy decided to give Runge a run for the silver medal and a battle ensued between the young sculler with the Australian rower claiming bronze, just 0.02 seconds behind the German.

Bakker, who won bronze in the Junior Men’s Double Scull at the 2014 World Rowing Junior Championship, said post-race in Rio de Janeiro: “To race in an A-Final at the World Championships, there are just no words to describe it. I loved every second of it. The conditions are good, better than other days, there was only just a little bit of crosswind.”

The Junior Women’s Double Scull of Georgia Wheeler and Bridget Badenoch competed in their A-Final against Germany, Romania, Italy, Great Britain and Hungary. The crew coached by Jarrad Schar of SASI finished fifth in their race which was ultimately won by Germany.

Also in action in Rio were the Junior Men’s Coxed Four of New South Welshman Toby Starkey, Thomas Barnes, Hamish McDonald, Henry Kamp and Benjamin Doyle. The crew were up against some stiff competition from Italy and Germany who had won their respective heats in the boat class. Ultimately it was Germany who won the gold medal with Italy taking the silver, while the Australians finished fifth overall.

The Junior Women’s Coxed Eight were the penultimate race of the day and the Australian crew faced off to Germany, Italy, USA, Romania and China in the Rio sunshine. The crew, coxed by Alexis Hancock, were in a tight race on the 2016 Olympic course with the Germans being the reigning Junior World Champions in the boat class.

Germany went off at 42 strokes per minute to take the lead with Romania and Australia the closest challengers. But margins were tight and with 500m rowed only two seconds separated the top four boats. Germany had settled into a 36 stroke rate rhythm to keep the lead with Romania continued to follow in second.

Australia then dug deep to get them just a fraction ahead of Romania with the United States now moving up on both Australia and Romania. Germany continued to lead and a further push by the Australians with 400m left to row gave them a clear silver medal spot. The battle for the lesser medals remained fierce as Romania would not let Australia get away. In the last 250m Germany had broken away to be the clear leaders and they were watching a huge battle for silver and bronze as Italy had gone to a 41 stroke rate to get themselves into the mix.

As Germany crossed in first, a sprint separated by a mere second saw Italy grab silver and the United States take bronze and the Australians just missing out on a podium finish. Having finished fourth on the water, the Australians were then asked to weigh their boat post-race, and with officials deeming it ‘underweight’ the crew’s finishing position was revised to sixth overall.

The B-Final of the Junior Men’s Four featuring Thomas Franey, Angus Morrison, Callum Chisholm and Thomas Davidson, finished fifth overall in their race giving them an 11th best ranking in the world. Meanwhile, the Junior Women’s Four were unable to compete in their B-Final due to medical grounds.

Full results can be viewed on World Rowing’s website here.