Monday, 24 September 2018

Leander athletes help GB eight gain historic Lucerne victory

IN AN historic climax to last weekend’s World Cup regatta in Switzerland the GB men’s eight

IN AN historic climax to last weekend’s World Cup regatta in Switzerland the GB men’s eight beat the German Olympic champions by the narrow margin of just 0.08 of a second.

It was the second time within a week that the eight, with five Leander men on board, had defeated the Germans, who were unbeaten at world championships leading up to London 2012.

But with Great Britain winning the world championship title in 2013, and mounting a successful defence last year in Amsterdam, the tables have been turned.

It’s been 15 years since the GB men’s eight last triumphed in Lucerne, where the regatta so often proves a form guide for the championships themselves.

In Sunday’s race GB worked themselves into a good lead early in the race before Germany mounted a charge which brought them back level with the British crew.

An immense effort in the final 10 strokes kept the challenge at bay and gave the world champions the gold medal, with New Zealand in third place.

“We are pretty pumped after that. It’s 15 years since a British eight last won in Lucerne, so it’s a bit of an historic moment,” said stroke Will Satch.

Earlier European Champions Matt Langridge (Leander) and James Foad (Molesey) marked their return to world cup action after an injury pause with a barnstorming second half to take silver in the men’s pair behind the New Zealand Olympic Champions.

“We got the wins at Henley and the Europeans without rowing well but we have definitely moved on here. We are still in front of everyone bar the Kiwis and now we have a good base to work on,” said Langridge.

Sandwiched between the men’s medals came a well-fought bronze for the GB women’s eight who took the race to the world silver medallists and eventual winners, Canada, from the start before being pipped to silver by the New Zealanders.

“This weekend has been all about getting our race right. I think we have made big steps on. This was confidence building as well go into the training camps” said Leander’s Vicky Meyer-Laker. In the men’s coxed pairs Leander’s Callum McBrierty and Mat Tarrant of Oxford Brookes took the gold medal in a straight final with Germany, and now go to next month’s world championships brimming with confidence.

Among the lightweight men’s events Leander’s Jono Clegg and his partner Sam Scrimgeour of Imperial gave their all in trying to beat the Italians, who crossed the line for gold just 0.19 of a second ahead.

And there was a shock exit from the regatta for Katherine Grainger and Vicky Thornley in their women’s double scull semi-final when a boat-stopping crab off the start gave them too much ground to make up to qualify for the final.

There was better news for Leander’s John Collins and Jonny Walton in the equivalent men’s event. The winners of the previous week’s Double Sculls Challenge Cup at Henley qualified for the final where they finished fifth, with the Croatian world champions taking gold.

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