Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Leander athletes dominate at GB trials

LEANDER athletes secured top places at last weekend’s GB trials in Boston, Lincolnshire, where Rio hopefuls

LEANDER athletes secured top places at last weekend’s GB trials in Boston, Lincolnshire, where Rio hopefuls had their first chance of the Olympic year to impress the selectors.

Top of the women’s leader board in single sculls was Vicky Thornley, whose time of 20 minutes 1 second over the 5,000 metre course gave her a 15 second margin ahead of Olympic champion Katherine Grainger.

Racing together all season in the double scull the Leander/Marlow combination finished in sixth place at the world championships in France, qualifying the boat comfortably for next year’s Games.

Speaking after the win, Thornley said: “It was a good start to the Olympic year. It was kind of what I expected of myself, but it’s always good to be able to put that into practice.”

The course on the River Witham is renowned among rowers for its conditions, as easterly chills come straight in from Russia, but last weekend proved unseasonably pleasant once the mist had burned off.

Thornley added: “It was really good conditions â?? the best I’ve raced at Boston in an all-in-one.”

Four more Leander athletes joined her in the top 10, including double Olympic silver medallist Debbie Flood, making her return to the sport since 2012.

Also back in the rankings was mother-of-two and 2012 Olympic champion Anna Watkins, in 12th place.

Six Leander athletes finished in the top 10 in the men’s table, with promising rows from Tom Barras, Nick Middleton and Frazier Christie, all members of the Leander Development Academy. Racing in men’s pairs the Leander captain, Alex Gregory, proved the man to beat, as he and his Molesey partner, Moe Sbihi, finished six second clear of Pete Reed and Constantine Louloudis.

But third place, a further four seconds adrift, proved a disappointment for Olympic bronze medallists Will Satch and George Nash.

Satch said: “It was a bit mediocre, my performance, but it is what it is, and it’s not a bad place to be. We want to win, and we need to get it right on the day. There’s no point in being great in training, which we have been, and not being a game-day player.”

Among the lightweight singles Olympic silver medallist Richard Chambers took a seven second win ahead of his brother Pete, while his doubles partner Will Fletcher finished third.

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