THERE were few surprises at Tuesday’s team announcement for this year’s World Rowing Championships, where 29
THERE were few surprises at Tuesday’s team announcement for this year’s World Rowing Championships, where 29 Leander athletes have been named among the GB squad that departs today (Friday) for final training camps in Europe.
The men’s eight, who have beaten the German Olympic champions twice in the last month, have undergone a minor change with Constantine Louloudis displacing Will Satch from the stroke seat. Satch moves back to two, allowing the Oxford president back into the position he occupied when the crew won Olympic bronze at London 2012. The corresponding women’s boat, with five Leander athletes on board, survives unchanged from the line—up which won bronze two weeks ago in Lucerne. The crew has consistently challenged the world’s top boats this year so far and will be hoping to add further speed at the training camps.
There has been a reshuffle among the lightweight men, where Jono Clegg moves back into the four, displacing Jamie Kirkwood, who will contest the lightweight single, the boat in which he has been a consistent winner at GB trials.
Clegg’s gritty determination as a late sub in the Lucerne double scull final obviously impressed the selectors, but it means Kirkwood will not be racing an Olympic boat class.
“We know it’s not what Jamie wants to be doing, but it does give him the chance to make his mark,” said performance director Sir David Tanner.
The crew announcement also sees the return of the 2014 silver medal quad scull, who sat out Lucerne because of illness and injury in the crew. Charles Cousins’ broken hand is now fixed and the crew is back to full training with Graeme Thomas, Sam Townsend and Peter Lambert all named. Angus Groom, who helped the crew win the gold medal in Varese, is spare athlete for the team.
European Champions Matt Langridge and James Foad are named in the men’s pair, as are John Collins and Jonny Walton in the men’s double, while Katherine Grainger and Vicky Thornley will be looking to make amends for a disappointing Lucerne in the equivalent women’s event.
Leander’s Jess Leyden, former junior world sculling champion, will stroke the women’s quadruple scull who followed up their Henley win with an indifferent performance in Lucerne.
Only the men’s four and coxed pair have yet to be determined, with sickness and injury affecting the four’s Lucerne result. Further testing is ongoing for the rowers who raced in Lucerne, with the final entry being announced next month from camp.
In the para—rowing classes, the GB mixed coxed four, with Leander’s Pam Relph on board and Oli James in the cox’s seat are looking to defend their world title after setting a world best time in winning gold at the Varese World Cup.
The World Championships, running from August 30 to September 6, double as the Olympic and Paralympic qualifying regatta.
The top finishers in each boat class will qualify their country for an entry at next year’s Olympic Games.