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 News and Features

 3rd April 1999


World Sculling Challenge, 2nd April 1999

Cop takes up the Challenge

Christopher Dodd on the Tideway

Iztok Cop of Slovenia won the Thames World Sculling Challenge by two feet over the American Jamie Koven in a courageous race from Mortlake to Putney. Miriam Batten-Luke beat her sister Guin by a length and a half in the women's race, despite scraping Barnes Bridge.

Koven almost caught Cop after both scullers carved their way through rough water on the top of the tide which capsized Canada's Derek Porter at Duke's Meadows. Koven, the 1993 world sculling champion, took the North arch of Barnes Bridge to bring himself back in contention with the 1993 champion Cop. If Koven had made up that two seconds he would have been disqualified for not taking the centre arch.

In third place was the early leader Giovanni Calabrese of Italy, and in fourth the lightweight world champion Stefano Basalini who steered the best course throughout. Cop led Porter and Koven a merry dance on the choppy water, all three almost beaching on Chiswick Eyot. If they had known the course like the 1998 holder Greg Searle who had to withdraw, the result may have been a different story. Porter got back in his boat and finished the course.

The women's race was a duel between the holder Guin Batten and her sister, the world champion in double sculls. Miriam took the lead in the first minute and Guin forced her way into second place well before the mile. Olympic champion Ekaterina Khodotovitch from Belarus had trouble with the waves from early in the race. The Dutch sculler Pieta van Dishoeck hung on to third place and the American lightweight and world double sculls champion Sarah Garner was fifth after leading off the start.

Men: 1 I Cop (Slovenia) 22 mins 49 secs, 2 J Koven (US) 22.50, 3 G Calabrese (Italy) 23.23, 4 S Basalini (Italy) 23.30, 5 D Porter (Canada), ntt. Women: 1 M Batten-Luke (GB) 22.43, 2 G Batten (GB) 22.45, 3 P van Dishoeck (Netherlands) 23.18, 4 E Khodotovitch (Belarus) 23.38, 5 S Garner (US) 23.45

© Copyright Chris Dodd, 1999.

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