13-year-old Zimbabwean rowing sensation finishes third in World Under-19 event

Peterhouse Girls School’s rowing sensation Danielle Kaschula won bronze at the World Rowing Indoor Championships, in the Under-19 women’s 500m final, breaking another record.

The 13-year-old rowing starlet who was not a bookmaker’s favourite coming into the race as she was competing against seniors defied the odds to finish third in a time of 1:31.9.

Only 0.5 seconds separated first placed Sara Mohamed El Marzouky of Egypt and second placed Meg Knight of Great Britain.

Down to the last stroke, it was an impressive performance by El Marzouky to finish ahead of Knight, gold medallist in the 500m and 2000m at the British Rowing Indoor (virtual) Championships (2020).

The finishing times: El Mrzouky 1:30.2, Knight 1:30.7, Kaschula 1:31.9.

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The ongoing virtual event draws athletes together from around the globe, racing live from their living rooms, bedrooms, balconies, back yards and gyms.

Kaschula who broke numerous indoor records during lockdown, qualified for the championships through the Open pathway and was invited to compete in the Under-19 Women’s 500m race.

Racing at the World Rowing Virtual Indoor Championships will continue on Saturday, 27 February with Zimbabwe’s Peter Purcell-Gilpin battling it out in the Open Mens 2000m final.

Purcell-Gilpin qualified for the Men’s 2000m World Indoor Rowing Championships through the African Continentals pathway and will have to punch above his weight to leave an indelible mark at the championships.

“In the men’s open 2000m event all eyes will be on Ward Lemmilijn from Belgium. He qualified for the event by winning the European Qualification in a time of 5:47.6,” reported worldrowing.com

“That is the fastest recorded time of all competitors entered. He will have to watch out for Bartosz Zablocki of Poland who came second at the European Qualification in 5:52.4. Behind these two front-runners there is a handful of athletes clocking in between 5:54.0 and 5:56.0. It will make for a very close race.”

For junior rowers, these indoor events are an excellent way to compete during the coronavirus pandemic.

The World Rowing Indoor Championships is currently being held virtually for the first time with an impressive entry of 935 athletes from 63 nations.