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Italy’s Valentina Rodini and Federica Cesarini take women’s lightweight double sculls gold medal in Tokyo

TORONTO – July 29, 2021: after 2,000m of racing, Italy wins the women’s lightweight double sculls title. Valentina Rodini and Federica Cesarini rowed to the gold in 6:47.54. France was just 0.14secs behind, claiming the silver in 6:47.68. Netherlands took the bronze in 6:48.03. 

The gold was Italy’s first Olympic medal in women’s rowing (they have won 40 medals in men’s rowing). Only European rowers have won an Olympic gold medal in this event, and this unofficial tradition did not change at the Sea Forest Waterway with the top four boats hailing from the continent.

“It’s a great feeling,” said Cesarini on winning Olympic gold at Tokyo 2020. “It is difficult to describe, but we wanted it, we searched for it and finally we have it.”

The race was a highly competitive one, with no crew dominating throughout.

Great Britain’s Emily Craig and Imogen Grant led the way in the first 500m, with France and Italy close behind.The lead changed hands several times throughout the race. By the halfway mark, the top four boats – Netherlands, France, Italy and Great Britain – were separated by less than a second.At the 1500m point, there was change of positions again, with Great Britain moving up to second and the French boat – featuring Claire Bove and Laura Tarantola, a former world champion in the lightweight women’s single sculls – down to fourth.

The real excitement came in the final 500m of the race.Italy made a concerted push for home, moving from third to first. France, 4th, followed them through into second place.
And this is how the race ended, with gold for Italy and silver for France. The silver is France’s second rowing medal in a women’s event. It had previously claimed bronze in the pair at the Olympic Games in Atlanta in 1996.

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