Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Best of British

GOOD luck! The families and friends of Britain’s rowers have sent them messages of support as the Olympic Games open in Rio today

GOOD luck! The families and friends of Britain’s rowers have sent them messages of support as the Olympic Games open in Rio today.

A total of 47 athletes, including a large number from Leander Club in Henley, have travelled to Brazil to compete on the Lagoa lagoon.

The messages have been put together in a video compiled by British Rowing before the rowing heats begin tomorrow with the finals taking place between Wednesday and next Saturday.

They include one from Sally Satch, the mother of 27-year-old Henley’s redheaded rower Will Satch, who is stroke of the GB eight. He won a bronze medal in men’s pair at London 2012.

Mrs Satch is pictured with Will’s girlfriend Zara Milne, both in orange wigs, holding a sign saying: “Sending speedy rowing vibes. Good luck!! Love, the Gingers xx.” She said: “I wish him lots and lots of luck and kind water. It’s really bouncy out there at the moment I understand and it needs to be nice and smooth.”

Mrs Satch flew out to Rio yesterday (Thursday) with Will’s godmother Maria Langler and Miss Milne will join them later.

Gregg Davies, headmaster at Shiplake College, where Satch learned to row, said: “I think the whole college will be looking out for Will. For us he’s very much ‘Will Satch from Shiplake’ because we see him so often. He’s such a nice guy.”

Oxford Brookes University Boat Club’s Olivia Carnegie-Brown, 25, a former pupil of Queen Anne’s School in Caversham, will race in the women’s eight.

Her family are pictured in the video in Oxford, where she now lives, with the message “Go for Gold! This is your moment.”

Her grandfather John Hives, a former chairman of the Henley Show, who lives in Nuffield with his wife Frances, said: “Good luck, Olivia and all of the women’s eight.

“It’s pretty special and an amazing achievement considering she was picked out from a non-rowing school. It’s really exciting.”

Mr Hives, who is flying to Rio with his wife this weekend, added: “I think they’ll be anxiety and apprehension.

“We just wish them the best and we’re as positive as we can be.”

Leander captain Alex Gregory, 32, from Ipsden, will row in the coxless four with Moe Sbihi, Constantine Louloudis and George Nash.

His partner Emily Airey sent a message from the couple’s three children Jasper, six, Daisy, two and Jesse, six months saying: “Good luck, daddy, we can’t wait to watch you row really fast.”

Miss Airey said: “I’m very excited. It’s quite different because at London it was just down the road. There’s only a four-hour time difference but they do feel far away.

“Jasper was the same as age Daisy is now during London but cried through the whole race and now he’s excited.

“He has taken Alex’s medals in for show and tell at school. He has asked daddy to come with a big one like London. He did say to him that another colour would be a bit different!”

Miss Airey said she would watch the racing with her children at home but planned to fly to Brazil after the finals.

Stewart Innes, 25, from Binfield Heath, will compete in the coxless pair with Alan Sinclair.

His parents, Duncan and Nicky, are seen in their message holding up a card with two Union flags and the words: “Good luck Team GB”.

Mr Innes, who is a former British lightweight rower, and his wife have travelled to Rio to watch their son in action.

Leander’s Polly Swann, 28, who is also in the women’s eight, is supported by her family who are holding a Union flag and a sign reading “Go GB!”.

Double Olympic gold medallist Andrew Triggs Hodge, 37, will be in the men’s eight.

The Molesey Boat Club athlete has the support of his wife Eeke and son Sebastian who are seen holding a sign, saying: “Go GB.”

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