Van der Meer and de Koning fire on home water

Para rowing stars expected to light up World Cup III

female and male Para rower Annika van der Meer and Corne de Koning celebrate in their boat Corne de Koning and Annika van der Meer are defending world champions in the PR2 Mix2x © • FISA/Igor Meijer

Para rowing’s hottest crew of Annika van der Meer and Corne de Koning will be under the spotlight when they race in their home World Cup III from Friday in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

The setting is perfect for the Dutch pair, who take on their first event in front of a home crowd. The reigning world champions will team up in the PR2 mixed double sculls (PR2 Mix2x), and also race individually in the PR2 women's single sculls (PR2 W1x) and the PR2 men's single sculls (PR2 M1x) respectively.

They won all three of these events at the last World Cup round in Poznan, Poland; and can repeat that feat before the year’s pinnacle competition: 2019 World Rowing Championships in Linz-Ottensheim, Austria.

Single sculls dominance

In the PR1 men's single sculls (PR1 M1x), Paralympic champion Ukraine's Roman Polianskyi is unbeaten this season and is looking for a third victory to stamp his authority on this event.

In the absence of Australian world champion Erik Horrie, Lithuania’s Augustus Navickas and Brazil’s Rene Pereira can also contend for podium spot’s.

Ukraine's Anna Sheremet and Israel's Moran Samuel will try to make up ground on world champion Birgit Skarstein of Norway in the PR1 women's single sculls (PR1 W1x).

Skarstein won comfortably on her season debut in Poznan and is expected to lead the field once again in Rotterdam.

Golden opportunity

The PR3 mixed coxed four (PR3 Mix4+) rivalry between Paralympic champions Great Britain and their closest rivals the USA will not take place.

However, the Dutch crew of Elfi De Jong, Minxia Peddemos, Luuk Veltink, Thom Kuss and cox Caitlin Smith will be try to emulate the success of compatriots Van Der Meer and De Koning. They are up against boats from Israel, Poland, Russia and Ukraine.

The PR3 men's pair (PR3 M2-) sees two German boats taking on a team from Ukraine. It will mean a first win in this event for one of the crews and is the last chance to impress before the all-important World Championships from 25 August – 1 September.

The World Cup III is the last event before the 2019 Worlds. It runs until 14 July and will be live streamed on World Rowing’s website.