World Cup recognition but no medal

Legendary Belarusian rower Yekaterina Karsten claims 2011 World Academic Rowing Cup for women

By Yuri Kovalev

Though the famed Belarusian failed to take the prestigious trophy in Lucerne, finishing fourth in the final race of the third stage, fans remain happy, knowing that the main start of the season — the World Championship — lies ahead.

Before the final women’s single rowing race at Lake Rotsee, a strong wind began to blow, placing the athletes under great stress. However, New Zealand’s Emma Twigg seemed able to ignore the unfavourable weather conditions, retaining her lead from the beginning of the race. Karsten joined Mirka Knapkova of the Czech Republic close behind daring Emma, with Xiuyun Zhang of China sneaking ahead to claim third place near the finish. Twigg snatched her first gold medal, with Karsten too late to employ her usual spurt near the end. It is the first time since 1999 that our ‘Yekaterina the Great’ has returned medal-less from an international event. Perhaps it’s a ‘trick’ to divert her opponents’ attention before the coming World Championship — to be hosted by Bled, Slovenia. Places at the London Olympics will be the main goal of the event.

As for the other Belarusian crews, pair Yulia Bichik and Tatiana Kukhta are also doing well, having won bronze medals at the World Cup rounds in Munich and Hamburg. Fans were optimistic but the women failed to reach the finals. In the consolatory race, they produced a beautiful win over American and Italian rowers, but this was too late to change anything.

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