20 August, 2006, Eton, Great Britain, The home of rowing for the 2012 Olympic Games got a test run as the 2006 World Rowing Championships began at Dorney Lake, just outside of London.

Contending with bumpy but fast water conditions rowers from 59 countries competed in the first day of heats. Great Britain showed the strength of their recently revamped rowing programme by winning three events.

Lightweight single sculler Zac Purchase, 20, recorded the fastest qualifying time in his event to lead the way for the British who also recorded wins in the men’s four and men’s double.

Germany got off to a solid start with an impressive seven minute flat time in the women’s pair when Elke Hipler and Nicole Zimmermann took on current World Champions, New Zealand. New Zealand finished three seconds back in second and will have to return to race the repechage.

Germany also impressed in the men’s single when their top single sculler, Marcel Hacker went to an easy win in his heat. But leading the men’s singles going through to the next round could be the Czech Republic’s Ondrej Synek who got within five seconds of the World Best Time when he was pushed by Switzerland’s Andre Vonarburg in his heat.

Also showing strongly in the single are both the reigning World Champion, Mahe Drysdale of New Zealand and current Olympic Champion Norway’s Olaf Tufte. Both of these scullers won their heat to advance directly to the semi-final.

The men’s double looks to be shaping up into a French – Slovenian showdown. Jean-Baptiste Macquet and Adrien Hardy of France won their heat and recorded almost identical times to reigning World Champions, Iztok Cop and Luka Spik who won their respective heat. These two crews have been battling it out all season and at present the score is one all.

Racing continues Monday 21 August with the remainder of heats.

For today’s full race report go to

Media contact FISA: Marion Gallimore
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