A STUNNING win by Olympic veteran Frances Houghton and her doubles partner Vicky Meyer-Laker was one of the highlights of the World Cup regatta where eight more Leander athletes won gold, another two silver, and four bronze.
A STUNNING win by Olympic veteran Frances Houghton and her doubles partner Vicky Meyer-Laker was one of the highlights of the World Cup regatta last weekend where eight more Leander athletes won gold, another two silver, and four bronze.
A full house at the Olympic course at Eton Dorney witnessed medals coming from experienced stars as well as younger athletes tasting senior international competition for the first time.
After winning their heat Houghton and Meyer-Laker took a direct path to the final where the main opposition came from the Chinese lightweights, Xu Dongxiang and Pan Feihong.
As the two crews fought neck and neck for the line Xu caught a boat-stopping crab in the choppy conditions and the Leander duo cruised to victory. Speaking after the win, Houghton said: “It was a very exciting race, really fast and tricky conditions here.”
Meyer-Laker added: “It was just so special to be able to compete on home soil and to have so many people come to watch to see why you do what you do.”
In the women’s pairs Polly Swann and Olympic champion Helen Glover repeated their gold medal run which started three months ago at the World Cup regatta in Sydney.
Germany were first off the blocks, but Swann and Glover kept the power on to move into the lead before the New Zealand pair put in a push to overhaul the Germans, who secured third place while the GB pair held off the closing Kiwis.
Speaking afterwards, Swann admitted to having had some pre-race nerves.
The third gold medal crew featuring Leander athletes was the LTA mixed coxed four in the para-rowing event, where Paralympic gold medallist Pam Relph retained her seat at bow in the crew steered by tyro international cox Oli James.
As the crew flew off the blocks in the straight final they took a commanding lead over Ukraine and continued to press home their advantage to win by 27 seconds.
Speaking after the race Relph said: “It wasn’t our best row by any means, there is still a lot to work on but I think to deal with those conditions with the new crew that we have was encouraging.”
Leander’s silver medal athletes included Al Sinclair in the new GB heavyweight four, and Richard Chambers, sculling with his brother Pete, a fellow Olympic silver medallist, in the lightweight double. The Chambers were closed down within the final 100 metres by Poland, who won by 1.13 seconds, with Norway third.
Leander’s medal tally was completed by Matt Langridge, competing with London’s Bill Lucas in the double scull, in which they finished third, as did Jono Clegg, Chris Bartley and Will Fletcher, competing with Adam Freeman-Pask in the lightweight four.
Leander’s final gold of the regatta came in the men’s eights, with Olympic champion Pete Reed in the seven seat of the GB boat, and four other Leander athletes on board.
The result of the race was victory by a few feet from Poland, much to the delight of the home crowd.