Ireland make history as WRJC comes to a close
On Sunday evening, the curtain fell on a fantastically successful World Rowing Junior Championships at Dorney Lake – in which Ireland made history with their first ever junior championship medal, and Germany came away with a staggering 10 medals.
The final day of the championship saw seven finals contested in a packed morning session, with Germany picking up an impressive four gold medals, Romania two, and Lithuania one.
“We feel great. It’s awesome,” Denis Sittle – one half of Germany’s Junior Men’s Double Sculls gold medal winning crew – told World Rowing. “The Championships have been very emotional for us. At the last 300m, we knew we would make it.”
The big story of the final day, however, was Ireland’s Holly Nixon picking up a silver medal in the Junior Women’s Single Sculls; her country’s first ever medal in almost 40 years competing at junior championship level.
The 17-year-old (pictured, left) – comfortably the fastest in Saturday’s semi-finals – looked to be heading for a world title at the half-way stage, before Germany’s Anne Beeken staged a dramatic comeback to edge the furious sprint finish and clinch gold.
“I have been training for this for about five years now and everybody wants to do well,” the Portora Royal School rower said after the race. “Ireland have not won a world medal in a long time, so I took it on my shoulders to get it for them – and I did.”
The GB Rowing team had already won their two silver medals – in the Junior Women’s Four and Junior Men’s Eight – when the final day’s racing got underway on Sunday, and performance director David Tanner expressed his delight at the performances of his medal-winning juniors.
“I’m very pleased with our medals,” he said. “Both crews rowed to the top of their game to do that.”
After a stunning weekend of racing, and an encouraging test of Eton Dorney’s notable facilities ahead of the London 2012 Olympic Games, the rowing world’s attentions will now turn to Slovenia – where the Senior World Championships are due to get underway on August 28.