Monday, 18 December 2017

Leander stars on top of the world with Team GB

THE GB rowing team, including 27 Leander athletes, has been making excellent progress at the World Championships in Amsterdam.

At the halfway mark in the eight-day event all 18 British crews were still in contention, including significant early wins for the men’s four and quad, the men’s pair and the lightweight men’s double scull.

The men’s four, with Leander’s Alex Gregory at bow, includes Molesey athletes Moe Sbihi, George Nash and Andrew Triggs Hodge.

Together the crew are in unstoppable form this season, having won the European title in record time two months ago in Belgrade.

In Sunday’s opening heat they cruised to a four-second victory over their nearest rivals, Australia.

“From my seat in the boat it felt great. From our perspective the race was won fairly early so we could enjoy it and there is more juice in the legs to come yet” said Alex Gregory afterwards.

Olympic men’s eight medallists Matt Langridge of Leander and James Foad of Molesey also controlled their opening heat to win after neutralising a Spanish attack.

Meanwhile, the GB men’s quad, which took the gold medal last month in Lucerne, also came through a testing contest with Poland to take line honours.

Leander’s Charles Cousins and Peter Lambert, with Agecroft’s Graeme Thomas and Sam Townsend, of Reading University, are looking to improve on the World Championship bronze they won last year in Korea. Will Fletcher and Jamie Kirkwood were involved in a much closer race in their opening heat of the lightweight doubles, where the USA kept hard on their heels before the Leander men held on to win by a margin of two seconds.

Single sculler Vicky Thornley is also safely through to the next round, having switched events after her doubles partner, Frances Houghton, was ruled out of the competition with a post-viral problem.

The Leander athlete placed second in her heat behind Olympic champion Mirka Knapkova of the Czech Republic. Also safely through to the next round is the GB men’s lightweight four, including Mark Aldred of London RC, Peter Chambers of Oxford Brookes, and Richard Chambers and Chris Bartley of Leander.

But there was a blow for Leander’s John Collins and Jonny Walton in the double scull, when they missed a direct path to their semi by 0.04sec after a stirring race which Germany won to take the only available semi spot. The Leander men now have another change in their repechage.

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