In 2010, the European
will be staged in
Portugal, with racing taking place from
10 to 12 September.
Organised for the first time on Lake Orta, Italy, in 1893,
the European Rowing Championships had been staged
almost yearly until 1973, when they were replaced by
the World Rowing Championships. At the request of the
majority of European rowing federations, the event was
re-established in May 2006. The first edition of the newly
reinstated regatta took place in 2007 in Poznan, Poland.
The regatta is usually at the end of the racing season
in mid-September, but for the first time since their
reinstatement, the European Rowing Championships
will be held before the World Rowing Championships
(which this year will take place in early November to take
advantage of better New Zealand weather).
This timing creates a unique situation for the European
Championships. The event can now be used as a lead-up
to the World Rowing Championships. “We hope to see
600 rowers from all over Europe because it will be the last
opportunity to test the teams before the World Rowing
Championships in New Zealand,” says President of the
Portuguese Rowing Federation, Antonio Marques.
The course in Montemor-o-Velho is manmade, using
water from Mondego River which runs in a fertile valley
once occupied by rice fields. The only international 2km
rowing course in Portugal, it is the hub of Portuguese
rowing. “After several test events, the international
rowing and canoeing course in Montemor-o-Velho is
now ready to be officially inaugurated with the 2010
European Rowing Championships,” says Marques.
In total, 43 member federations are eligible to be part
of the European Rowing Championships and, since
2007, more than 30 nations have entered the regatta
each year, with Greece topping the medals table for the
past two years. At the top of the European medals table
in 2009, the Greek team took away gold medals in the
lightweight men’s and women’s double sculls and the
men’s four and pair.
The rise of Greek rowing began at the Olympic Regatta
in 2004 when Greece won their first ever Olympic medal
in rowing. Vasileios Polymeros, rowing with Nikolaos
Skiathitis in the lightweight men’s double sculls, took
bronze at the Olympic Regatta. Since then and under
new head coach Gianni Postiglione, Greece shows no
signs of slowing down.
With the European Championships taking place in
Portugal in 2010, Marques hopes that Portugal will be
able to enter six to eight boats in the regatta, compared
to two in 2007 and 2009.
■ D.M.F. / M.S.B.
The rowing course in