Thursday, 13 December 2018

Leander athletes face key Rio trials

THE final leg of Great Britain national trials, to be staged this weekend in Caversham, marks

THE final leg of Great Britain national trials, to be staged this weekend in Caversham, marks the formal climax to the selection process for the 2015 season, writes

Robert Treharne Jones.

A total of 47 Leander athletes, including members of the club’s development academy as well as established Olympians, will be hoping to earn themselves a place in the team, with the focus firmly on Rio in a year’s time.

The new season will end at the World Championships in Aiguebelette, France, where the top places in each event will learn their nation qualifying slots at next year’s Olympic regatta.

In the men’s pairs the crew to beat will be Leander captain Alex Gregory and his Molesey partner, Moe Sbihi, world champions in last year’s men’s four after their gold medal in Amsterdam.

Also in the same group are Leander’s Will Satch and Molesey’s George Nash, reunited in the pair after their bronze medal together at the 2012 Olympics. Another Molesey/Leander pairing are the current world silver medallists, James Foad and Matt Langridge.

Fresh from his Boat Race win with Oxford, Constantine Louloudis will race with another Leander athlete, double Olympic champion Pete Reed.

Among the women’s single sculls Marlow’s Katherine Grainger, the four–times Olympic medallist, returns to the trials for the first time since 2012, in a field which also includes Leander’s top sculler Vicky Thornley.

Among the top men’s single scullers will be Leander’s Charles Cousins, winner of last year’s event, along with his fellow silver medallist from the GB quad, Pete Lambert. Four more strong contenders in this event will be Leander’s Jonny Walton, John Collins, Angus Groom and Jack Beaumont.

Among the lightweight single scullers Leander’s Jamie Kirkwood is looking to make a good impression alongside world senior medallists such as Chris Bartley, Jono Clegg and Will Fletcher.

Notable absentees this weekend include 2013 world champion Polly Swann, who sits out because of injury, while Olympic and world champion Andy Triggs Hodge has suffered a lingering virus which has curtailed his winter training.

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