Romania took gold in the women's four competition in Račice ©FISA

The Romanian women's four squad of Cristina-Georgiana Popescu, Alina Ligia Pop, Beatrice-Madalina Parfenie and Roxana Parascanu took gold on day two of the European Rowing Championships in Czech village Račice.

They proved too strong for their Polish, Dutch and Italian opponents to win in a time of 6min and 51.640sec.

Poland's Monika Ciaciuch, Joanna Dittmann, Anna Wierzbowska and Maria Wierzbowska took silver in 6:55.320.

The Dutch squad of Willeke Vossen, Marleen Verburgh, Annemarie Bernhard and Lisanne Brandsma completed the podium in a time of 6:59.230.

Rio 2016 gold medallists Jeremie Azou and Pierre Houin of France made it through to the final of the lightweight men's double sculls event.

The duo took an early lead in the first semi-final with Germany’s Lucas Schaefer and Jason Osborne in second and Panagiotis Magdanis and Spyridon Giannaros from Greece in third.

Ireland's Rio 2016 silver medallists, O’Donovan brothers Gary and Paul, were at the back of the field.

At the half-way mark the top three positions remained unchanged while the O'Donovans began to move up the field and into fourth.

With 500 metres left to row, the Greek pair had fallen back while their Irish rivals moved past them and in front of the Germans.

At the line, the Olympic gold and silver medallists crossed the line in first and second respectively, followed by Schaefer and Osborne in third. 

They will be joined in the final by Italy's Steffano Oppo and Pietra Ruta, Peter Chambers and Will Fletcher of Great Britain and Jerzy Kowalski and Milosz Jankowski of Poland, who all qualified from the second semi-final.

Patricia Merz of Switzerland secured her place in the final of the lightweight women's single sculls.

Merz, who won this event in the first World Cup event of the season in Belgrade earlier this month, started well and by the 500m mark had a length’s lead over the rest of the field.

The Czech Republic's Monika Novakova was in second position and Ireland's Denise Walsh, who finished second to Merz in Belgrade, in third. 

In the second quarter, Walsh gradually moved up on and took over the Czech sculler, while Merz increased her lead, securing more than two boat lengths over the field by the half-way mark.

Italy’s Clara Guerra, the junior world champion, had managed to move into the third spot with Novakova falling behind.

Jeremie Azou and Pierre Houin of France made it through to the final of the lightweight men's double sculls ©Getty Images
Jeremie Azou and Pierre Houin of France made it through to the final of the lightweight men's double sculls ©Getty Images

In the final quarter of the race Ireland’s Walsh closed in on the Swiss athlete but failed to catch Merz, who crossed the line first. 

Walsh took second while Guerra held onto third place to advance to the final.

In the second semi-final Sweden’s Emma Fredh, the current world silver medallist in this event, had qualified for the semi-finals with the fastest qualifying time.

The field was tighter than the first semi-final with only two seconds separating the top five boats at the 500m mark.

Just a few hundredths of a second separated Fredh and Germany’s Leonie Pieper, in second.

At the half-way mark, Fredh had increased her lead very slightly to half a boat length’s lead over Germany with Russia’s Anastasia Lebedeva, racing in lane one, slightly behind in third.

The 24-year-old began to increase her speed to surpass Pieper and take second behind Fredh.

Peiper managed to hold onto third place to qualify for tomorrow's final.

Rio 2016 bronze medallists in the men's four, Italy, eased into the final of that competition.

Domenico Montrone and Matteo Castaldo were both in the boat in Rio de Janeiro and have been joined by Giovanni Abagnale and Marco Di Costanzo. 

Throughout the race the Italians continued to increased their lead with The Netherlands following behind in second.

The Dutch crew is the same that won silver at the World Cup in Belgrade, with three of their four members having finished fifth in this boat class in Rio.

France secured the third qualifying spot.

The Russian squad made a quick start in the second semi-final but very little separated the top five boats at the half-way mark.

Germany, in outer lane one, held on to second with Romania in a steady third throughout.

In the final strokes, however, three crews were racing dead level after Great Britain upped their stroke rate and moved into contention.

At the line, it was a photo finish between the second and third qualifying spots, with Great Britain having moved into second ahead of Romania.

Germany were unable to respond to Great Britain’s late challenge and fell back into fourth, missing out on the A-final.

Action is due to conclude tomorrow with a busy day of finals.