All you need to know about World Rowing Cup I in Belgrade

The 2017 World Rowing Cup series begins in Belgrade on Friday – here is what you need to know about the event

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Photo: World Rowing

About Belgrade

Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, is home to 1.6 million people. The city lies at the junction of two rivers – the Danube and the Sava.

The Ada Ciganlija Regatta course is situated on Sava Lake which is located in the heart of Belgrade, 5km from the city centre. The artificially created lake is 3,000m in length and 250m wide, situated in a southwest-northeast direction.

When will they be racing?

All of the racing is scheduled to take place between Friday and Sunday, with the A and B finals on the last day of competition. In most cases the heats will be on Friday, with semi-finals and repechages taking place on Saturday. However, due to the small number of entries in some of the boat classes, some of the British athletes won’t begin their regatta until Saturday morning.

Click here for the provisional schedule of racing over the weekend.

How can I watch the racing?

The BBC will be broadcasting live coverage of the finals on Sunday on the Red Button, with a 90 minute highlights programme scheduled to broadcast on BBC2 on Sunday afternoon.

The BBC team will present their coverage live from Trafford Rowing Club, near Manchester, with Dame Katherine Grainger and Sir Matthew Pinsent part of the broadcast team.

Live coverage: BBC Red Button 10.30-14.00

Highlights: BBC2 16.00-17.30

British Rowing will be bringing you coverage of the event on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, so make sure to follow us across all three channels to catch the best of the action.

Who’s in the Great Britain squad?

Three Rio 2016 champions return to the men’s squad, with two silver medallists from the Rio Games in the women’s squad.

Moe Sbihi and Will Satch make up 50 per cent of the new look men’s four, alongside Matthew Tarrant and Callum McBrierty. Tom Ransley returns to the men’s eight, and is joined by a host of new and returning talent, including 2016 Boat Race winner Lance Tredell and BRIC16 champion Adam Neill.

The men’s quad features the four best scullers from the recent GB Rowing Team Senior & U23 Trials – John Collins, Jonny Walton, Jack Beaumont and Tom Barras – with Peter Lambert racing the single. Jacob Dawson and Matt Rossiter race in the men’s pair after an impressive showing at Trials.

Trials winners Karen Bennett and Holly Norton race in the women’s pair, with Bennett’s fellow Rio 2016 silver medallist Vicky Thornley returning to the single scull, in which she raced in 2013 and 2014.

>>> Great Britain team for World Cup I in Belgrade

U23 world champions Jess Leyden and Mathilda Hodgkins-Byrne are joined by Holly Nixon and Beth Bryan in the women’s quad in a small field.

London 2012 champion Katherine Copeland continues her lightweight women’s double partnership with Charlotte Booth into the Tokyo 2020 Olympiad, with Maddie Arlett and Emily Craig in the second British boat.

Peter Chambers and Will Fletcher pair up in the men’s lightweight double, with a second boat made up of Sam Mottram and Zak Lee-Green. Joel Cassells and Sam Scrimgeour are partnered in the lightweight men’s pair.

Who else will be there?

Some of the world’s top rowing nations have opted to forego the first World Cup of the season, but a strong field still remains in each of the events. The likes of New Zealand, Australia and Germany will be absent, but the presence of strong crews from nations such as the Netherlands and Poland means there should be some great racing in store.

Rio 2016 silver medallist Damir Martin (Croatia) is back in action in the men’s single. His final at the Rio Games featured probably the most exciting finish of the whole regatta, with Martin recovering nearly a length’s deficit on Mahe Drysdale only to be pipped on the line by the Kiwi. Martin’s countryman Martin Sinkovic, Olympic champion in the double scull, will also race the single in Belgrade.

The women’s quad features two of the medal-winning nations from Rio, although only two members of each the Dutch and Polish boats remain from Brazil.

Many eyes will be on the lightweight men’s double event, which features Irish brothers Paul and Gary O’Donovan, who won many hearts in Rio with their silver medal (Ireland’s first rowing medal) and gloriously upbeat post-race interview.

How the World Cup series works

Three World Cup events take place each year; 2017 sees the series visit Belgrade, Poznan and Lucerne.

Each of the World Cup regattas offers racing for the 14 Olympic boat classes, with a handful of International boat classes also offered. World Cup points are only awarded for the Olympic disciplines, however.

Finishing first in an Olympic class event gives your nation eight points; second nets you six points, third place is five points and down to one point for finishing seventh. Should one nation have two boats in the top seven, only the highest placed boat will be awarded the points.

Points are added up across all three regattas, with the nation holding the most points in each boat class denoted by a yellow bib.

At the end of the series, there are winners of each Olympic boat class, as well as an overall winner – the nation that has won the most points.

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