Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Leander have their sights fixed on World Cup glory

THE second World Cup of the season this weekend at Eton Dorney turns the Leander spotlight on to a number

THE second World Cup of the season this weekend at Eton Dorney turns the Leander spotlight on to a number of new faces as well as established favourites in the GB team.

Edinburgh medical student Polly Swann is hoping for further success following her win earlier in the season in Sydney alongside Olympic champion Helen Glover.

Coached by Robin Williams the pair exhibit the same style that brought gold medal success for Glover and her partner Heather Stanning last August, but the new combination will be pushed hard by the Australians, Tess Gerrand and Katrina Bateman, who won Olympic bronze last year.

Leander’s Richard Chambers and his brother Pete, both Olympic silver medallists in the lightweight men’s four, will this weekend race the lightweight double for the first time. On paper the duo are favourites for gold, despite the presence of the new European champions from Norway, Kristoffer Brun and Are Strandli.

All the big names among the heavyweight men’s squad will race in the eight, including Olympic champion Pete Reed, but one notable absentee will be Alex Gregory, still recovering following a virus.

But Leander eyes will also be on the second GB men’s eight, selected on the basis of their persistence in making the leap from club to GB level.

Five Leander men take their seat in this promising line-up, including multiple Henley winners Nick Middleton and John Collins. But there has been disappointment for the GB women’s eight, who found they were the only entry in this boat class, traditionally one of the smaller entries at international competition.

All eight athletes have been redistributed into two more pairs and a second quad, with cox Zoe de Toledo the only athlete denied a chance to race at Dorney. The crew are looking to reform in two weeks when they will be the home favourites contesting the Remenham Challenge Cup at Henley.

Despite the stronger competition compared with the first World Cup in Sydney organisers must be disappointed by the relatively low entry of just 400 crews, with more nations opting for the European Championships in Seville three weeks ago.

Nevertheless large crowds are assured, with many hoping to recreate the Dorney roar that helped the GB crews to such success last August.

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