Monday, 11 December 2017

Rowing World Championships under way

Vicky Thornley, one of the athletes representing Great Britain at the World Championships in Amsterdam this weekend.
THE GREAT BRITAIN rowing team, including 29 Leander athletes, flew out to Amsterdam on Wednesday for this year’s World Championships, which start on Sunday.

The team is largely unchanged from the line-up which featured so strongly at the World Cup regatta in Lucerne six weeks ago.

The best hope for a gold lies with the GB men’s four in which Leander’s Alex Gregory now holds the unique honour of concurrent Olympic, world, Henley, European and national champion.

Together with his three Molesey crewmates — Andy Triggs Hodge, Moe Sbihi and George Nash — the four have won in style at every regatta this season after chief coach Jurgen Grobler amalgamated his two best pairs after GB final trials in April.

There’s unexpected pressure on the men’s quad scull, which includes Leander’s Charles Cousins and Peter Lambert alongside Graeme Thomas of Agecroft and Sam Townsend of Reading University.

The four men won Britain’s very first World Championship medal in South Korea last year and are now looking to retain that form in Amsterdam. The men’s eight, world champions in South Korea, has been completely revamped throughout the season after the four was named as lead boat.

Stars such as Pete Reed and Will Satch anchor the line-up, which sees Constantine Louloudis come back into the stroke seat for the first time since London 2012.

With the eight settled, Molesey’s James Foad and Leander’s Matt Langridge have been named in the men’s pair, the boat class in which they took silver in Lucerne behind the unbeaten New Zealand world and Olympic champions.

Among the women’s crews world champion Polly Swann retains her place in the eight which has performed strongly throughout the season.

In Lucerne the British took bronze behind theseasoned Canadian and Romanian crews, in the absence of the US world champions.

But there’s disappointment for Leander’s Frances Houghton, who is out of the double on medical grounds, leaving her clubmate Vicky Thornley to race the single, the boat class in which she finished in seventh place last year.

Among the lightweight events Olympic silver medallists Chris Bartley and Richard Chambers race in the immensely competitive men’s four while the ever-improving Will Fletcher and Jamie Kirkwood race the lightweight double.

In the para-rowing events Leander’s Pam Relph anchors the mixed four, coxed by Oli James, which is hoping to retain the world title they won last year in South Korea.

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