Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Leander's Thornley to partner Grainger

LEANDER?S Vicky Thornley has been selected to race with Olympic gold medallist Katherine Grainger at the European Championships later this month in Poland.

LEANDER?S Vicky Thornley has been selected to race with Olympic gold medallist Katherine Grainger at the European Championships later this month in Poland.

Thornley is one of 28 Leander athletes in the GB team, which was announced on Wednesday at the National Training Centre in Caversham.

Winning GB trials for the second successive year gave Thornley a significant advantage when it came to selection, and she is now looking forward to the pre-Olympic season with relish.

?You always want to row with the best. Katherine is a very aggressive racer ? she?s very consistent at stroke and it gives me confidence to follow that. She?s a pure racer, which I can learn a lot from.?

Back at the family home in Wrexham the news has been warmly welcomed. ?My Mum and Dad are big supporters and come out to all the regattas, which is great ? they?re pretty excited,? said Thornley.

In the men?s squad Alex Gregory, the Leander captain, moves from the four to a new-look men?s eight, which will also include his clubmates Matt Gotrel, Pete Reed, Will Satch and cox Phelan Hill as well as newcomer Stewart Innes.

The move means that world champion Tom Ransley and silver medallist Al Sinclair will contest the men?s four, the event that GB won at the last European Championships. Leander?s Matt Langridge and Molesey?s James Foad, who took silver in men?s pairs last year, stay in that boat class, while the men?s quad, with Charles Cousins and Peter Lambert on board, retain the same line-up that took the silver medal last year in Amsterdam.

Also retaining their seats are Jonny Walton and John Collins in the men?s double, while U23 medallist Angus Groom gets a chance to race the single in the absence of Alan Campbell.

There?s a new-look all-Leander lightweight men?s double scull with the experienced 2012 lightweight men?s four medallist Richard Chambers teaming up with Will Fletcher from the 2014 crew. Jamie Kirkwood, who sculled with Fletcher last year, is still recovering from an injury and will not race. In the lightweight four Leander?s Chris Bartley, a 2012 Olympic silver medallist, retains his seat at stroke.

Other selections include a fresh women?s quad crew including 2013 world junior champion Jess Leyden at stroke.

The women?s eight is coxed once more by Leander?s Zoe de Toledo and features experienced Olympians Katie Greves and Lou Reeve as well as Lucinda Gooderham.

The GB lightweight pair will be Jonno Clegg of Leander and Pete Chambers of Oxford Brookes, a 2012 silver medallist in the four.

As the international season gets under way the coaching team refused to be drawn about the number of GB crews that might compete at Henley.

?It?s important that we support Henley this year, as the Olympics will mean we miss it completely for 2016,? said performance director Sir David Tanner.

Men?s coach Jurgen Grobler added: ?Henley is very special, and we need to use the opportunity.?

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