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World Records at the 2022 World Rowing Virtual Indoor Championships

27th February 2022
Last year’s indoor champion Ward Lemmelijn of Belgium came out on top again at the World Rowing Virtual Indoor Championships
Last year’s indoor champion Ward Lemmelijn of Belgium came out on top again at the World Rowing Virtual Indoor Championships

Going virtual for the second year, the 2022 World Rowing Indoor Championships saw nearly 800 athletes from 66 countries competing. They qualified from around the globe through either one of 19 sanctioned events or individual qualification.

When the pandemic forced the 2022 World Rowing Indoor Championships, originally scheduled to take place in Hamburg, Germany, to go virtual again, it meant finalists would have to race live from their bedrooms, balconies, bathrooms, kitchens and gyms on Concept2 indoor rowing machines. The two days of racing saw world records falling across a variety of distances and age groups as well as para-rowing and team events.

 2022 World Rowing Indoor Championships

The open men’s 2000m was one of the highlight events and the race saw last year’s indoor champion Ward Lemmelijn of Belgium come out on top again. Lemmelijn trailed Russia’s Alexander Vyazovkin for the majority of the race, and in an epic sprint to the line overtook him just before the finish, to the delight of his supporters in Belgium. He fell just short of the magic sub 5:40 mark when he finished in a time of 5:41.7, ahead of Vyazovkin with Joel Naukkarinen of Finland in third.

For the open women’s 2000m Kirsten Kline of the United States had a blistering start over Zhang Peixin of China. Then Peixin, the 2019 World Rowing Junior Champion in the Women’s Eight, took the lead and never looked back. She was racing alongside Chinese rowing teammates Lv Yang and Xu Xingye, and in front of the trio managed to secure a 1-2- 3 for China. Kline, the reigning world champion who was injured a couple of weeks before the WRICH, had to settle for fourth place.

Friday, the open men’s 500 m category saw current world record holder Phil Clapp of Great Britain securing a third consecutive gold medal in this event. Clapp scored a time of 1:11.6 and held off a late surge from Cameron Wharram from Canada. Anton Grassl from Slovakia finished third – and managed to get a gold medal half an hour later in the Masters 40-49 Category. Grassl repeated his performance Saturday when he secured another gold medal in the same age group, over 2000m this time.

indoor rowing

The best performer of the Championships was undeniably Spain’s Javier Reja Munoz. Reja Munoz competed in canoe at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games and finished a close fourth at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. He broke a first world record Friday in the PR1 Men 2000m in a time of 7:23.2, and repeated his performance Saturday with another world record in the 500m – with another supersonic time of 1:38.4. In the same race yesterday, Milan Lackovic of Slovakia and Matthew Houser of the USA also broke world records in the Men’s PR3 and Men’s PR3-II 500m.

Alida Kingswood won the hearts of the global audience when she set a new world record in the masters women’s 90-94-year-old 2000 metre category. Canada’s Kingswood broke the record by finishing in a time of 10:29.3 – smashing the previous world record by more than two minutes.

The live racing meant that the rowers had to fit in with a variety of time zones. Racing started Friday at 12 noon CET (which was midnight in New Zealand and 3 am in California) and Saturday at 11 AM CET, and was streamed live on www.worldrowing.com. Each rower was videoed racing from wherever they were in the world. These individual races were then linked through a virtual studio with commentators calling the races: from Camilla Hadland and Martin Cross in Great Britain, to Shane Farmer and Aquil Abdullah in California.

Each athlete was connected to a screen where they could see how they were doing against their competitors. This timing and results software was produced and operated by race
management company Time Team of the Netherlands. World Rowing Productions of Munich, Germany brought all of the elements together to create the live stream broadcast.

Rewatch the racing here. Complete results here.

Published in Rowing
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