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Rowers prepare for Lucerne championships

Swiss hopes are resting on Xeno Müller

(Keystone Archive)

More than 1000 rowers from 49 countries have converged on Lucerne ahead of the 2001 Rowing World Championships, which gets underway on Sunday.

It's the fourth time the town has played host to such an event which will take place on the Rotsee, a large lake framed by the Swiss Alps.

Rowers from all over the world will be battling it out on the water for just over a week in the most important rowing competition since the Sydney Olympics.

Swiss hopes will be resting on Xeno Müller and Pia Vogel in the men's and women's single skulls.

Müller, who won the silver medal in the 2000 Olympics, will be looking to prove himself in front of the home crowd as he battles against Olympic bronze medallist, Marcel Hacker and Olympic double skulls champion, Iztok Cop of Slovenia.

Müller has been training intensively in California since April after he lost to Norway's Olaf Tufte at the Princeton World Cup. He has now joined the rest of the Swiss team who have been training on home water for the past six weeks.

Vogel, who was born and bred in Lucerne, has returned to singles racing after finishing fifth in the double skulls at the Sydney Olympics. She'll be looking for strong home support when she races in the lightweight single skulls on Sunday, where she'll be fighting for her third World title following victories in 1998 and 1999.

But the regatta will be missing the heavy weights of the rowing world following the retirement of five-time Olympic gold medallist Steve Redgrave along with Atlanta Olympic champion, Switzerland's Michael Gier.

swissinfo with agencies


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