Friday, 23 February 2018
THE Great Britain men’s four matched their Henley Royal Regatta win with gold in Lucerne last weekend, where 10 Leander athletes returned with medals from the regatta that is widely billed as the form guide to the world championships.
With Will Satch as stroke, backed up by Oxford Brookes’ Mat Tarrant at three, with Molesey’s Moe Sbihi at two and Leander’s Matt Rossiter at bow, the crew trailed the Netherlands through 500m but put in a push at around 750m to take the lead. With pressure coming from the Italian crew which lost the Henley final, the GB crossed the line 1.5 seconds clear for gold, followed by Italy and the Netherlands.
Speaking after the race Sbihi said: “The start wasn’t our best — it’s normally more explosive. But we set into a really good rhythm after that. We’ve now got two months to try to stay on top. There is a lot more efficiency to come out of the middle part of the race.”
The all-Leander men’s quad scull completed a full set of world cup medals in 2017, following bronze in Belgrade with gold in Poznan and silver in Lucerne. Jack Beaumont, John Colin, Pete Lambert and Jonny Walton collected enough points for the World Cup title to add to the previous weeks’ win in the Queen Mother Challenge Cup.
Predictablly enough it was the Lithuanians, European champions but absent from Poznan, who denied the GB men the gold after pushing into the lead by halfway to win by over a length.
Beaumont said: “It wasn’t what we wanted today, but finals are always going to be tough at a World Cup, especially in the second fastest boat. During the race, we were level with the Lithuanians, but didn’t have the horse power towards the end.”
Bronze from the women’s eight took GB’s tally to four for the weekend, after the lightweight women’s quad won silver on the Saturday. The Brits couldn’t match the pace shown by New Zealand and winners Romania, but held firm over the Dutch to take third place, adding to the silver they won in Poznan.
Speaking after Leander’s Katherine Douglas said: “Romania and New Zealand are two of the best crews at the moment. We’re looking forward to going home and training towards Sarasota.”
Leander’s Holly Norton and Karen Bennett entered the regatta as world cup leaders in the women’s pair, thanks to their gold in Belgrade. But in their first regatta together since the European Championships in May, they rowed to fourth in the final, while single sculler Vicky Thornley’s tough weekend of racing resulted in a fifth-place finish. In the final race of the regatta the GB men’s eight finished sixth in a race won by Germany ahead of a close-finishing Australia.
Despite the low medal count the results meant GB once again came out top in the World Cup points table on 134, with New Zealand second on 108, and Poland third.
GB athletes will also take heart from the fact that poor results at Lucerne are almost always followed, for them at least, by greater success at the world championships.
17 July 2017
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