Six “Toms” and nine Beijing medallists

Andrew Triggs Hodge (left) and Pete Reed

Six “Toms” from the GB Rowing Team men’s squad will be in action at the National Indoor Arena, Birmingham, this Sunday for the season’s big indoor rowing challenge – something that hopefully the weather can’t derail after cancellations of the Fours Head and various sculling tests. They will be joined by no fewer than nine Beijing Olympic medallists. Matt Wells, winner of double scull bronze in Beijing takes on his crew-mate Stephen Rowbotham but also faces his brother Peter Wells who seems to have re-entered rowing after a spell with British bobsleigh.

Three-quarters of the Olympic gold men’s four will spar with each other – Tom James, Andrew Triggs Hodge and Pete Reed. Meanwhile, the 2009 world champion four of Matthew Langridge, Richard Egington, Alex Partridge and Alex Gregory will also race in the openweight men’s event. The “Toms” in Brum, in addition to Tom James, will be Wilkinson, Broadway, Burton, Ransley and Solesbury. All featured alongside stroke James Clarke in last year’s men’s eight and Clarke joins them this weekend, too.

GB Rowing’s emerging talents of Cameron Nichol and Nathaniel Reilly-O’Donnell will also be in action in what should be a fascinating contest. Debbie Flood, meanwhile, is the lone GB Olympic female medallist taking part in the open women’s event. All the rest of the squad will be at overseas winter training camp by the weekend. The event, which is 19 years old this year, makes its ninth appearance at the NIA. Thousands of rowers take part.

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