Italians Valentina Rodini and Federica Cesarini failed to clinch direct qualification in their heat at the World Rowing Championships ©Getty Images

Tokyo 2020 Olympic champions Valentina Rodini and Federica Cesarini suffered a shock defeat in the lightweight women's double sculls as they finished third at the World Rowing Championships in Račice, missing out on direct qualification to the semi-finals as a result.

The Italians finished third in their heat at the Labe Arena with a time of 7min 8.35sec while Ireland's Aoife Casey and Margaret Cremen won comfortably 5.58 quicker.

Only the winner of each heat qualifies directly for the semi-finals in the discipline so Rodini and Cesarini will need to contest the repechage tomorrow if they are to have a chance at winning a medal in the Czech Republic.

There were no surprises in the women's pair as reigning Olympic champions Grace Prendergast and Kerri Williams of New Zealand cruised to victory in their heat after 7:06.30.

Their time was the slowest of the three heat winners in the category, but they still managed to clock in more than 10 seconds in front of second-placed Irish pair Natalia Long and Tara Hanlon.

Romania's Olympic and European champions Ancuta Bodnar and Simona Radis led comfortably for the majority of the final women's double sculls heat, crossing the line 8sec ahead of Britain's Kyra Edwards and Saskia Budget in 7:00.62.

China's Olympic gold medallists Yunxia Chen, Ling Zhang, Yang Lyu and Xiatong Cui took a narrow win in their women's quadruple sculls heat despite being overwhelming favourites.

They finished after 6:19.19, while the Australian quartet of Harriet Hudson, Rowena Meredith, Amanda Bateman and Kathryn Rowan followed them across the lane 1.11 later.

Today's action also saw the beginning for four Para boat classes with the preliminary races.

The PR2 men's and women's single sculls were both won by reigning world champions, Corne De Konning of The Netherlands and Kathryn Ross of Australia.

The PR3 men's pair then saw a convincing win for Britain's Oliver Stanhope and Edward Fuller, who would go on to race in the mixed four later in the session.

Finally, Brazilians Diana Cristina Barcelos De Oliveira and Valdeni Da Silva Junior won the PR3 mixed double.

Britain won the first heat in the PR3 mixed coxed four in 7:14.84 before Australia took victory in the second with 7:12.58 on the clock.