Team Canada’s Quest for Olympic Qualification heats up in Belgrade
Canada qualifies boat for Paris 2024 in Lightweight Women’s Double
Canadian rowers Jill Moffatt (University of Western Ontario) and Jenny Casson (Kingston Rowing Club) secured Canada’s first quota spot for the Paris 2024 Olympics winning their semi-final race ahead of New Zealand and the United States with a time of 7:23.12. Advancing to the A Final guarantees qualification for Paris with a total of seven nation spots up for grabs in this category.
“This was the race we have been preparing for the entire year. It was really everything on the line,” Moffatt said emotionally. “It was also an opportunity to test our speed against the best rowers in the world. There are many crews racing today that we have never beaten before so we went into this semi-final with a mindset that we are going through and that we can beat them.”
As predicted, the Women’s Lightweight Double event has been hotly contested with tiny margins separating the crews across the 2,000-meter course on Sava Lake. An additional factor at play today was a feisty headwind, forcing the World Rowing Fairness Committee to reallocate the lanes for racing.
“We knew it was going to be really windy from watching the racing the previous day but we felt quite prepared for a race with headwind because we were dealing with a lot of that at Henley [Royal Regatta],” said Moffatt. “Our style of rowing is quite long and requires a lot of power so we felt confident that our technical side of rowing would match these kinds of conditions.”
This semi-final race carried a significant amount of weight for the Tokyo Olympians, having qualified for the previous Olympic Games in a more unconventional way through country quota reallocation. In 2019, New Zealand turned back a lightweight women’s double quota spot following the qualification events and Canada was next in line.
“It feels extra special to earn it ourselves this time,” said Casson. “At the end of the day, we had to come top 3 no matter what and how that happened wasn’t really top of mind but our experience rowing together really played in our favour. Jill made all the right calls at all the right moments, and it just feels really special to accomplish this with our coach Jeremy and the support of our friends and family back home.”
Jill and Jenny will be racing for a medal in Belgrade on Saturday, September 10.
Other Canadian crews in A/B semi-final action today were the Women’s Four and the Women’s Quad, both advancing to the B Final with 6th place and 4th place finishes respectively.
Tomorrow will mark the return of the Eights with both men’s and women’s crews competing in the repechage. The outcome of this race will decide which countries will line up for the A Final on Sunday, with the top five nations will earn qualification for the Paris 2024 Olympics.
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