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47 countries contest rowing’s Final Olympic Qualification Regatta

The road to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games continues with the announcement of the entries for the last chance to qualify in rowing – the FISA European Continental and Final Olympic Qualification Regatta.

To be held in Lucerne, Switzerland from 22-24 May 2016, the regatta has attracted nearly 400 athletes from 47 countries. Olympic qualification spots will be contested in the 14 Olympic boat classes with the qualification spots divided between the European Continental Qualification Regatta and the Final Olympic Qualification Regatta.

For the European Event, the men’s single sculls has attracted the largest field with scullers from 17 countries all hoping to qualify for Rio. Included in the men’s single is Belgium’s Hannes Obreno who recently finished fourth at the European Rowing Championships. There is also three-time Olympian Cedric Berrest of France and Denmark’s Sverri Nielsen. Australia’s Rhys Grant will be hoping for a top three finish to book a place at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

The Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls, in which  Australia’s Hannah Every-Hall and Georgia Nesbitt will compete, have to finish in the top two of their event to book a place for the 2016 Olympic Games. They will take on crews from Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Romania, Switzerland and Sweden.

For the Final Qualification Regatta, ten events are being contested for final spots in the Olympic rowing quota. The men’s eight event features Australia, Spain, Italy, Poland and the United States. The United States has a strong history of winning gold at the Olympic Games and are the 2004 Olympic Champions. In 2012 the US finished fourth while Australia was sixth in the eight. Two slots are open in this event. The crew of Stuart Sim, Josh Hicks, James Medway, Scott Laidler, Nick Purnell, Charles Risbey, Tim Masters, Fergus Pragnell and James Chapman recently arrived in Europe to train at the AIS ETC before heading over to Lucerne for the regatta.

Australia’s Women’s Eight of Sarah Banting, Olympia Aldersey, Molly Goodman, Lucy Stephan, Alexandra Hagan, Jessica Morrison, Charlotte Sutherland, Meaghan Volker and Fiona Albert will need to also finish top two in their final to book a spot at the Rio Olympic Games. The entries in their boat class include China, Germany, Netherlands and Romania and all the countries have a strong tradition in the event which will no doubt lead to some exciting racing.

The men’s pair includes recently crowned European Champions, Hungary. Andrian Juhasz and Bela Simon of Hungary will be up against 12 other countries with strong competition likely to come from Germany, Russia and the Czech Republic.

Of the 14 boat classes, four boat classes are open only to European crews (plus crews from Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States). Ten boat classes are open to all countries of the world. Continental regattas have already taken place in Korea for Asia/Oceania, in Chile for the Americas and in Tunisia for Africa.

The main Rio 2015 Olympic qualification regatta occurred at the 2015 World Rowing Championships. Since then there has been a series of continental qualification regattas with this regatta being the final opportunity.

All regatta information, including the full entry lists can be found herethis page will include race reports, results and photos during the event. On finals day televised news reports will be available.

A full explanation of the qualification process can be found here.

The updated list of qualified boats can be found here.

This media release, in part, first appeared on World Rowing’s website. It has been edited slightly to include more information on Australia’s crews.