A record 1,300 athletes from 77 countries will compete at the upcoming 2015 World Rowing Championships, which is due to start this weekend Aiguebelette, France, the World Rowing Federation (FISA) has announced.
The event takes is due to take place from Sunday (August 30) to September 6 and will see the world’s top rowers battle it out for gold as well as crucial Olympic and Paralympic berths at Rio 2016.
Ahead of competition beginning on the French lake, FISA President Jean-Christophe Rolland revealed his organisation will add a further four Federations at its Congress, due to take place the day after the World Championships conclude, bringing the total number of members to 146.
“This growth internationally is reflected in the number of countries participating at the World Rowing Championships, and I am very pleased to welcome rowers from all corners of the globe and especially the newer rowing nations to Aiguebelette,” Rolland said.
“Having Olympic and Paralympic qualification spots available has also added to huge interest in this regatta.”
The United States will bring the largest contingent of any of the 77 participating nations, with 27 crews set to take part across the seven days of competition.
Their women’s eight will be aiming to replicate the supreme form they have demonstrated in recent years having not lost a race since 2006, although Canada are expected to push them all the way this time around.
Britain are also set to bring a strong team which includes Olympic, world and European Champions Helen Glover and Heather Stanning, and performance director Sir David Tanner is looking forward to the event in Aiguebelette getting underway.
“Aiguebelette is an iconic rowing venue, famed for its physical beauty and great racing conditions,” he said.
“The GB Rowing Team is ready to go and looking forward to taking on the best in the world, fresh from finishing our training camps.
“The extra fizz at this year’s Championships comes from the battle for Olympic and Paralympic qualification slots - the strength of our team comes from its depth of standard and professional attitude, backed by superb support from the National Lottery at home.”
Hosts France meanwhile will be hoping to perform well in front of their home crowd, with Stany Delayre and Jérémy Azou among the favourites in the lightweight double sculls event.
“Since 2012 we have lost only one race, the final of last year at the World Championships,” Delayre said.
“Out of 38 races we have won 37, so I think the message is clear, both to the opponents and for us.
“We have a year to complete the double and our mindset is to win everything.”
July 2015: Bike crash leaves three of Australia’s top crew injured ahead of World Rowing Championships
September 2011:Aiguebelette chosen to host 2015 World Rowing Championships as Strathclyde overlooked