Oliver Zeidler set a leading time in the men's single sculls heats ©Getty Images

World and Olympic champions took charge on the first day of the World Rowing Championships in Račice in what is the first edition of the event since 2019 following a COVID-19-induced hiatus.

The first day of heats saw a strong tail wind provide fast racing conditions at the Labe Arena with all races being contested over two kilometres.

Reigning men's single sculls world gold medallist Oliver Zeidler of Germany posted the quickest time across the six heats as he completed the course in 6min 46.31sec.

Dutch European champion Melvin Twellar and Greek Olympic gold medallist Stefanos Ntouskos then won heats two and three, respectively.

The women's singles sculls saw New Zealand's Emma Twigg make her first international appearance since winning Olympic gold at Tokyo 2020.

The Amsterdam 2014 victor dominated her race to finish in 7:31.92 while recently crowned European champion Karolien Florijn of The Netherlands also sauntered through her heat.

Defending Olympic, world and European champions Fintan McCarthy and Paul O'Donovan of Ireland set the fastest time in the lightweight men's double sculls with 6:15.11 on the clock.

In the men's pair, Spain's Jaime Canalejo Pazos and Javier Garcia Ordonez, who finished sixth at Tokyo 2020, posted the fastest time across the four heats in 6:23.81.

The five heats of the men’s double sculls concluded the day's racing with double Olympic and recent European champions Martin and Valent Sinkovic of Croatia clocking the fastest time across the heats in 6:12.72.

The action is set to continue tomorrow with heats in the men's and women's fours, the women's pair, women's double sculls, men's quadruple sculls and lightweight women's double sculls.