Competition began today in Tokyo ©World Rowing

Defending champions Switzerland began strongly in the women's quadruple sculls as the World Rowing Junior Championships opened with heats action in Tokyo.

The regatta is the first international competition to be held at the Sea Forest Waterway and is doubling as the test event for next year's Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Rowers were attempting to make it through their heats with an automatic berth for the next round, removing the need for an extra race in the repechage.

Celia Dupre is the only Swiss paddler to remain from the country's 2018 women's quadruple sculls win but they won their heat to book their place in the semi-finals.

Crews from the Czech Republic and New Zealand also claimed heat victories.

In the men's quadruple sculls, the Czechs started as reigning champions but have fielded an entirely new line-up.

They reached the semi-finals as runners-up in their heat as Germany, New Zealand and Italy rowed to race wins.

In the men's double sculls, Hamish Henriques and Harrison Fox of Australia, Dmitrii Domashev and Anton Vasin of Russia, Matteo Sartori and Nicolo Carucci of Italy and Paul Krueger and Aaron Erfanian of Germany won their heats to book semi-final spots.

The Olympic Sea Forest Waterway venue is hosting competition  ©Getty Images
The Olympic Sea Forest Waterway venue is hosting competition ©Getty Images

Three heats in the men's pair saw wins for Romania's Florin Arteni-Fintinariu and Alexandru Gherasim, Victor Toston Lamm and Gregoire Charles of France and Achille Benazzo and Alessandro Bonamoneta of Italy, while in the men's single sculls the heat winners were Belgian Tristan Vandenbussche, Gennaro di Mauro of Italy, Joost Schwarz of The Netherlands and Ivan Brynza of Belarus.

Evangelia Fragkou and Evangelia Anastasiadou of Greece were among the heat winners in the women's double sculls, alongside China's Peibing Zhang and Hairong Zhang, Belgium's Caitlin Govaert and Jeanne Lenom and Dutch duo Lisa Bruijnincx and Jacobien van Westreemen.

In the women's singles sculls there were victories for Switzerland's Alina Berset, Russia's Anastasiia Liubich, Dutch rower Isabel van Opzeeland and American Katelin Gildersleeve. 

More heats will be held tomorrow, alongside the first repechage races.

Finals are scheduled for Saturday (August 10) and Sunday (August 11).

All of the Olympic test events are part of the Ready Steady Tokyo series.