World Indoor Championships goes hybrid

The 2023 World Rowing Indoor Championships, presented by Concept 2, went ahead as a hybrid event for the first time on February 25th and 26th, with an impressive entry of around 1600 athletes taking part, some competing in-person at the host venue at the Paramount Fine Foods Centre in Mississauga, Toronto, Canada while others took part virtually, racing simultaneously from locations around the world.

Roger Stainforth was the only representative from Durham ARC, one of 7 virtual entries competing from home in the 70+ 2km event along with 13 in-person entries. Having won the 75-79 2km event in 2022 when the Championships was a wholly virtual affair he was slightly disappointed at the absence of a 75-79 event this year but was determined to perform as well as possible against younger opposition.

In order to qualify for the Championships competitors had been required to produce qualiflying times at a Continental qualification event, which in Roger’s case had proved difficult following the cancellation of the British Rowing Indoor Championships in December because of insufficient entries. World Rowing were however prepared to accept his time of 7.38.9 achieved at the Festival of Rowing in December as a qualifying standard.

The World Championship race got underwy on time at 10.46 Eastern Standard Time on Saturday and Roger went on to take 7th place in 7.45.9, the second fastest time among the age 75-79 competitors. The results and race video are available here. Among the 70-74 entries were race winner Richard Stout (70) of Canada who set a new 70-74 2km World Record of 6.44.0, 1984 Olympic quad sculls bronze medallist Philip Monckton (70) of Canada who was 2nd in 6.47.3, and Concept2 co-founder Peter Dreissigacker (71) of USA who was 6th in 7.36.7.

Results of all races were provided by Time Team and can be found here.

An innovation for this year was a Versa competition in which contestants were required to take part in 5 different events over the course of the two days, with the nature of the challenges involved only being revealed shortly beforehand. Ten men and ten women had pre-qualified for the Versa Challenge. The placings for men are here and those for women here.