The World Rowing Virtual Indoor Championships will take place at the end of February ©Getty Images

Ward Lemmelign, the 2021 open men’s world champion, will defend his title at the 2022 World Rowing Virtual Indoor Championships (WRVICH) after qualifying for the finals ended.

The event, which attracted people from a variety of background - such as former National Football League (NFL) players and discus throwers - consists of 66 countries being represented following 19 sanctioned qualifying events, or individual qualifications.

Joining him at the championships is his younger brother Lode, who is participating in the under 23 category for 2,000 metres, and former women's world record holder Olena Buryak.

The Ukrainian will participate in the women's 500m and open women's 2,000m with Kirsten Kline, the United States' region champion of the open women’s 2,000m, and China’s Zhang Peixin, the 2019 World Rowing junior champion, challenging her.

This is the second year in a row the event is held virtually ©Getty Images
This is the second year in a row the event is held virtually ©Getty Images

Meanwhile, Britain’s Phil Clapp is looking for his third consecutive title in the men’s 500m but faces former NFL player Matt Stankiewitch of the US and Finland's Joel Naukkarinen.

The Finn, who is World Rowing's February Rower of the Month after setting Finnish records in the men's 500m and 10,000m, will also compete in the men's three minute 2,000m team, and the three minute mixed team.

Para racing events include the PR1, PR2, PR3 and PR3-II categories for 500m and 2,000m

France's 96-year-old Georges Basse will once again be the oldest competitor at the WRVICH.

The event, which has gone virtual for the second year in a row, was originally planned as a hybrid event set to take place in Hamburg, Germany, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced it to become completely virtual.