GB Rowing Announces Senior Worlds Team
GB Rowing’s selectors have today announced their team for the World Rowing Championships due to take place in Gifu, Japan, from August 28 – September 4, 2005.
Whilst the selection of the two overall world cup title winning and Camelot-sponsored combinations in the men’s four and women’s quad come as no surprise, there was some spice in other areas.
Zac Purchase, winner of a senior lightweight single scull silver in Munich a month ago and just turned 19, has been preferred for the same event in Japan ahead of his more senior colleague and Olympian Tim Male.
Alex Gregory, tipped extensively in the national press last week as a potential 2012 medallist, and Colin Smith in the men’s double have been omitted today but will find that the door may re-open after the World U23 championships in Amsterdam in eight days time.
Gregory and Purchase are part of a group of youngsters featuring this season in senior squads, including Anna Bebington, Annie Vernon and Colin Smith, many of whom are part of GB Rowing’s innovative talent identification and development scheme which is lottery-funded through Sport England.
The selectors have also taken a radical step with the women’s sweep squad by naming an eight plus reserves to race in Japan.
In the parallel men’s squad there may also be changes to come. Ten athletes, a cox and two reserves have been announced today but the line-up of the resulting eight and pair will not be established for some weeks to come.
Two months ago rowing was named for the first time as part of the Paralympic Games programme. Britain already has a strong record in this area. The mixed coxed four announced today for Japan is, for instance, currently unbeaten. The stiffness of competition in this developing area of the sport is now set to get tougher.
Steve Williams, Peter Reed, Alex Partridge and Andy Hodge, sponsored by Camelot, have so far retained the midas tradition of their illustrious British Olympic gold medal-winning forbears in the men’s four.
They opened their 2005 World Cup campaign with gold in Eton and in Munich and, although challenged hard in Lucerne, still came away in no.1 spot.
In Japan they will face some nations who have chosen not to show their hand yet, especially the USA and Australia. But they will arrive in Asia as one of the favourites to take the title.
So, too, will the women’s quadruple scull, backed by Camelot. There is still a question mark over Rebecca Romero’s fitness following the injury which took her out of Lucerne which will be resolved over the next few days by GB Rowing’s medical staff.
Katherine Grainger, at stroke in this boat, was one of the quadruple scull crew who won Britain’s first women’s Olympic medal of all-time in Sydney – a silver. Four years later she won silver again, this time in a pair with Cath Bishop. This boat, also features Olympic medallists Frances Houghton and Sarah Winckless.
Debbie Flood and Elise Laverick are both already Olympic medallists, each has been at the top of the women’s squad for several years and both had raced in various leading combinations before Lucerne last weekend but never in the same boat.
In Lucerne they showed their potential in the women’s double scull after just two weeks together. They not only reached the final but took bronze in a controlled race which saw them hold off both Italy and Germany in the dash for the line.
Flood’s move to the double from the single in which she started the season, means that Annie Vernon will travel to Japan as a reserve and may also have the opportunity to race there in a single. The young Cornishwoman substituted very ably into the quadruple scull for Romero at the weekend and came away with her first world cup medal – a silver.
Conversely Katie Greves and Carla Ashford are just on the threshold of their senior careers. They took world cup bronze in the women’s pair in Lucerne but will form part of the eight’s engine in Japan, alongside the quartet who also delivered Britain a bronze, in the women’s four, in Lucerne – Natasha Page, Beth Rodford, Natasha Howard and Alison Knowles.
Anna Bebington and Jessica Eddie complete the line-up with Caroline O’Connor at cox and Florence Temple and Rachel Loveridge, who both learnt to row at Bristol University and who are part of a performance squad at Thames RC under the eye of Gary Stubbs, travelling as reserves.
With the senior men’s four attracting much of the limelight this season, the young and talented British men’s quadruple scull featuring Alan Campbell, Stephen Rowbotham, Matthew Langridge and Matt Wells, has quietly gone about its job and has gone from strength to strength. They reached the final in both Munich and Lucerne. In Munich they were fourth and in Lucerne they made history by taking bronze – Britain’s first medal of any kind in this event at World Cup level.
This boat has two former world age-group single scull gold medallists on board in the shape of Wells and Langridge. Wells is a former world U23 champion and Langridge previously won the world junior title in the single.
Indeed GB Team Manager David Tanner summed up not only the progress they have made internationally this season but the potential for continued improvement when he said: "They are all young and there is still more to come".
Kieran West (Olympic eight gold medallist in 2000) and Josh West (twice a world silver medallist in the men’s four), who have competed as a pair at each of the 2005 World Cups, will now await a decision on how they will race in Japan. They are named today amongst ten open weight men’s sweep squad members, plus a cox and two reserves who will eventually form Britain’s eight and pair in Japan.
Under the eye of Robin Williams, former Cambridge Boat Race coach and now GB lightweight coach, the British lightweight squad has a new verve about it this season.
The men’s four and double – Olympic class boats – have both shown potential this season, reaching finals in Munich. Britain’s selectors have kept faith with the line-ups so that Mark Hunter and James Lindsay-Fynn will race in the double in Japan. Mike Hennessy, Simon Jones, Dave Currie and Nick English will race in the men’s four – one of the most tightly contested classes of major regattas because there are so few opportunities for lightweights in the Olympic Games.
In the international classes, GB has won several world cup medals this season so, Paul Mattick and Daniel Harte, winners of bronze in Munich, will race the men’s pair.
Jo Hammond, world silver medallist a year ago, races in the single. Zac Purchase, who turned 19 in May and who is a considerable talent for the future, will race in the equivalent men’s single whilst the selectors have maintained faith with Helen Casey and Jennifer Goldsack in the lightweight women’s double.
For Purchase, who won senior silver in the single in Munich and reached the final in Eton as well as winning at the Essen Regatta, it will be a busy summer. He is already taking part in the World U23 championships from July 22-24 in Amsterdam. Not bad for a young lad who was only last year still part of the junior team.
There is still potential for a lightweight women’s quadruple scull. This will be decided after internal trials and tests.
Britain will also have an adaptive mixed coxed four and a men’s single. These boat classes won gold (setting a world record) and silver respectively a year ago in Banyoles. This year’s crews include five of the athletes who returned with medals last year all hoping to add to their medal tally.
Adaptive rowing, designed for those rowers with a disability, has this year been named as part of the Paralympic Games programme.
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Eight – from:
Katie Greves (Uni of London)
Carla Ashford (Oxford Brookes)
Natasha Page (Reading Uni)
Beth Rodford (Thames RC)
Natasha Howard (Tideway Scullers)
Alison Knowles (Thames RC)
Anna Bebington (Rob Roy)
Jessica Eddie (Uni of London)
Florence Temple (Thames RC)
Rachel Loveridge (Thames RC)
Caroline O’Connor (Cox) (Oxford Brookes)
Coaches: Gary Stubbs/Ron Needs
Elise Laverick (Thames)/Debbie Flood (Leander)
Coach: Mark Banks
Annie Vernon (Rob Roy)
Coach: Nick Strange
Steve Williams (Leander)/Peter Reed (Oxford Uni)/Alex Partridge
(Leander)/Andy Hodge (Oxford Uni)
Coach: Jurgen Grobler
Men’s pair, eight and two reserves from:
Josh West (Cambridge Uni)
Kieran West (Uni of London)
Tom Broadway (Uni of London)
Phil Simmons (Molesey)
Jonno Devlin (Oxford Brookes)
Tom Stallard (Leander)
Tom Parker (Oxford Brookes)
Richard Egington (Leander)
Simon Fieldhouse (Molesey)
Henry Bailhache-Webb (Oxford Brookes)
James Orme (Cambridge Uni)
Hugo Lee (Oxford Brookes)
Acer Nethercott (cox) (Oxford Uni)
Coach: Steve Gunn/John West
Jo Hammond (Kingston)
Coach: Nick Strange
Helen Casey/Jennifer Goldsack (both Wallingford)
Coach: Miles Forbes Thomas
Paul Mattick (Wallingford)/Daniel Harte (London RC)
Coach: Rob Dauncey
Mike Hennessy (Tideway Scullers)/David
Currie (Leander)/Nick English (Notts & Union)/
Simon Jones (Notts & Union)
Coach: Robin Williams
Zac Purchase (Marlow RC)
Coach: Darren Whiter
Mark Hunter (Leander)/James Lindsay-Fynn (London RC)
Coach: Rob Morgan/Robin Williams
Rob Holliday (Ardingly)
Coach: Simon Goodey
Adaptive coxed four
Katie-George Dunlevy (Southampton Institute)/Naomi Riches (Royal Docks)/
Alastair Mckean (Herne Bay)/Alan Crowther (Derby)/Loretta Williams
(York City) (cox).
Coach: Simon Goodey
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