Olympic champion Mahe Drysdale found the going tough on his competitive return to international racing at Henley Royal Regatta today, suffering defeat to Aleksandr Aleksandrov of Azerbaijan in the Diamond Challenge Cup for men’s single scullers.
The New Zealander took a break from training after winning gold in London and tried his hand at triathlons and other enduranceevents. Aleksandrov was fifth in that Olympic final but won with something to spare today.
Olympic champions Luka Spik and Joseph Sullivan went head to head in the Diamond Challenge Cup for single sculls at Henley Royal Regatta today with Slovenia’s Spik getting the upper hand this time.
The result was a reversal of the London 2012 Games encounter in the double sculls when it was the New Zealander who was crowned champion.
Today’s win by five lengths for 33 year-old Spik might have raised eyebrows but Spik is in full training and Sullivan is just coming back from a long Olympic lay-off.
Henley Royal Regatta Chairman Mike Sweeney was delighted with the biggest opening day crowd for more than two decades as the Temple Challenge Cup for Universities, clubs and schools provided some of the 2013 Regatta’s most spectacular racing today.
Oxford Brookes’ University second crew produced a magnificent second half performance to row through a strong crew from the USA. The British students were led by Grand Valley State University until the mile signal, when a determined effort saw them draw level along the packed enclosures and secure a narrow win.
The 164th Henley Royal Regatta opens tomorrow morning and looks set to offer a feast of racing head-to-heads across all events with many 2012 Olympic medallists in action.
Racing begins on Wednesday with the top University, club and school crews and should build to a crescendo as the weekend approaches.
Fast-paced club crews from Molesey B.C., Upper Thames R.C., The Tideway Scullers’ School and Thames R.C. in the Thames Challenge Cup will be amongst the contenders to watch out for as racing gets underway in the five-day programme.
Sarah Winckless has been elected a Steward of the Regatta.
Sarah went to Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge where she studied Natural Sciences. She was an athletic all rounder, with an England Vest for discus throwing and Cambridge Blues in netball, basketball, athletics and rowing. After leaving university in 1997 she decided to focus on one sport and became a key member of the British Women’s rowing team for the next twelve years.
David Wootton has been elected a Steward of the Regatta.
David was educated at Bradford Grammar School before going to Jesus College, Cambridge where he studied Classics and then Law. While at Cambridge he was Captain of the college boat club in 1972 and rowed in the First Boat which was undefeated at Cambridge. After leaving Cambridge David joined London Rowing Club, where he is still a member. He is also a member of Leander Club.
Neil Chugani has been elected a Steward of the Regatta.
Neil was educated at Hampton School before studying Geography at St. Catherine’s College, Oxford. He coxed Isis in 1990 and the winning Oxford crew in the 1991 Boat Race. He was a gold medallist at the World Rowing Championships in 2001 when he coxed Matthew Pinsent and James Cracknell in the Coxed Pair. At Henley Neil has coxed one winning Ladies’ Plate crew and three winning Prince Philip fours.
Andrew Crawford has been elected a Steward of the Regatta.
Andrew was educated at Strodes Grammar School and at Kingston University. He is a member of both Staines Rowing Club and Hampton School Boat Club. He is an independent Chartered Surveyor.
The Temple Challenge Cup - Removal of Rule 1(f).
The Thames, Wyfold and Britannia Challenge Cups, The Prince Albert Challenge Cup - winners of medals at the World University Rowing Championships should be allowed to race in these events.
The Fawley Challenge Cup, The Junior Women’s Quadruple Sculls - reinforcement of the single club / school stance.
Over 170 of Great Britain’s rowing Olympians, going back as far as 1948, watched as young rowers from around the world showed their future potential in today’s finals at Henley Royal Regatta.
The group were brought together for a reunion at the Regatta. The day began with a row-past by British Olympic medallists in the royal barge Gloriana, which has been moored at the end of the course all week. The group included two of the eight that won silver when the Olympic regatta was held at Henley in 1948.
No current British Olympians were on display at Henley this year as they are all on training camps ahead of the London 2012 Games.