Friday, 22 September 2017

Leander athletes out in force for first World Cup of season

Leander athletes out in force for first World Cup of season

OLYMPIC champion Will Satch heads a 31-strong Leander contingent among the GB team next weekend for the first World Cup regatta of the season in Belgrade.

Satch takes his place in the new-look GB four, where the only surviving member of the Rio gold medal crew is Molesey’s Moe Sbihi, and where he will be joined by clubmate Stewart Innes, from the Olympic GB pair, and Oxford Brookes’ Mat Tarrant, the spare athlete in Rio.

Meanwhile Olympic silver medallist Vicky Thornley is back in the single, the boat in which she has won four successive GB trials, and contested two world championships in 2013/14.

“After I’d won trials they’ve let me have a go in the single, at least for the first World Cup, to see how it goes,” she said.

Her best world performance in this boat class was seventh place overall, four years ago in Korea, but much has changed since. Thornley added: “I think I’ve moved on massively since then, but I’ve had a prolonged break since Rio so I’m not back to where I was for the Olympics. I feel like I’m in a good place right now and I’ll be interested to see where I put myself for the first regatta.” After an emphatic victory at trials, Karen Bennett and Holly Norton take on the mantle of GB women’s pair left vacant by double Olympic champions Heather Stanning and Helen Glover.

The top four men’s scullers from trials — John Collins, Jonny Walton, Jack Beaumont and Tom Barras — come together in the all-Leander men’s quad, with Peter Lambert contesting the single, while last year’s U23 quad, unchanged from Rotterdam, also gets a run-out in the Serbian capital. In the women’s quad Leander’s Beth Bryan and Holly Nixon take their places alongside World U23 champions Mathilda Hodgkins-Byrne of Reading and Jess Leyden.

Leander’s Jacob Dawson and Matt Rossiter, who finished second to Satch and Sbihi at trials, join forces in the men’s pair, while Olympic champion Tom Ransley returns from injury to take his place in the men’s eight. In the lightweight double sculls, Oxford Brookes’ Pete Chambers teams up with Leander’s Will Fletcher for the men’s event, while 2012 Olympic champion Kat Copeland is back in the boat with Putney Town’s Charlotte Booth for the women’s double.

Racing starts in Belgrade on Friday, May 5, with the finals two days later on May 7.

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