Five golds in 11-medal haul for GB Rowing Team at world cup
Great Britain’s five golds in an 11-medal haul at the season’s second rowing world cup which concluded in Munich today included a remarkable comeback performance by Mark Hunter and Zac Purchase in the lightweight men’s double scull.
The duo, who sat out last year completely, were back in harness here for the first time since taking Olympic gold in Beijing and they won against opposition which included the world champions from New Zealand.
“Where did that come from? It’s exciting and it’s even a bit of a shock”, said 31 year-old Hunter whose return to the sport after a year of coaching in California has been delayed because of recent injury.
Their victory was part of a 100% gold tally here for the lightweight squad as the lightweight men’s four, who also beat the reigning world champions, and the lightweight women’s double scull of Sophie Hosking and Hester Goodsell also won.
Earlier the two open weight British double sculls of Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins as well as Marcus Bateman and Matt Wells were dominant in taking golds – creating a first for Great Britain as they won all four Olympic class doubles events here.
The GB Rowing Team added three silvers – in the women’s eight in which GB overhauled Germany in the dying metres, the men’s pair and the women’s quadruple scull – the latter boat featuring Grainger and Watkins once more after a mere 72 minute gap from their previous final.
“In our double scull we were in control of the race and did what we had to”, said Grainger. “In the quad final we didn’t expect the Germans to go out so fast but I’m pleased at the way we responded after that. We just ran out of room”.
GB’s three bronzes came from the men’s four, the men’s eight and the men’s quadruple scull. Only Alan Campbell, in the men’s single scull, who might have been expected to take a medal missed out when he finished fifth in a tough race.
“Quite clearly I am extremely pleased with the team’s performance today”, said GB Rowing Team Performance Director David Tanner. “To have won 11 medals from the 13 boat classes we entered is a good step up from the equivalent world cup last year. We know there are more nations to come in what is going to be a long season but it was still a strong performance”.
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Hester Goodsell and Sophie Hosking are back on song on the evidence of today’s world cup final. By 1500m they had clear water on the rest of the field with the pursuing group being lead by Germany. They had hit the front early, built on their lead and looked more than comfortable. Great Britiain’s second ranked crew of Andrea Dennis and Steph Cullen were in fourth by this point in the race.
As the sprint began for the line, it was clear that Goodsell and Hosking, world cup overall winners in 2009, were not to be caught. They took gold as China and Germany tussled to silver and bronze respectively. In a strong performance Dennis and Cullen took fourth.
“The last regatta [where GB lost to USA] really focussed our mind in training. We knew the work we had to do to make up ground. We wanted to seek out a really good race for ourselves”, said Hosking afterwards.
“The race went really well. We led from the beginning and everything went to plan. We were able to relax and enjoy it”, added Goodsell.
Back in harness for the first time since 2008, Mark Hunter and Zac Purchase knew that this regatta would prove to be a good test of their level. They did not expect to get back to winning ways immediately – although they reached today’s final by dint of wins in the heat and semi-finals here.
At the head of the field this afternoon a significant battle developed between the leading three crews of Germany, New Zealand – the reigning world champions – and GB.
From 1000 – 1500m the New Zealanders hit the front alongside the British duo and the two crews battled side by side, stroke for stroke. A paper’s width, not more, separated the two.
With 250m to go the British combination found something extra and stole half a length. Battling hard, they held onto that slender advantage and won in 6:26.56. It was a remarkable performance by the reigning Olympic champions after such a gap from international competition.
“Where did that come from”, said Hunter afterwards. “It’s exciting. It’s even a shock. We had to dig deep to find that. Three weeks ago I was injured and training on a bicycle. I can’t believe it”.
Purchase added: “It was a very hard race. I quite like being ahead for all of the race normally but you have to do what you have to do. We have had some very good training together and this will help us gain in confidence. Every Olympiad gets harder but we must make sure that we progress”.
Denmark, GB’s main opposition, and the Czech republic were the early leaders in the lightweight men’s four final. The GB Rowing Team’s quartet of Rob Williams, Richard Chambers, Chris Bartley and Paul Mattick were not that far behind, though. The same applied, after not inconsiderable effort from all the crews, at the halfway point.
At 1200m, the British combination attacked and took the lead but the field was still tight – GB from the Czech Republic by just over half a second. Had they gone too early? The lead was cut to a whisker Somehow the British crew found a touch more. At the line they surged to win in 6:06.72.
“That was much better than our race in Bled”, said Bartley. We were in control and we had something left in the final 500m”.
“We made our move at just the right time”, sdded Paul Mattick. “We’ve moved on since Bled. We have the ability to make a move and we did that today at the precise time. It is so potent”.
Williams, for whom the victory was a first at world cup level added: “The race went as we wanted it to go. We aimed to get out well and row a solid race. Richard (Chambers) was giving us good calls and personally I feel that I’m rowing a lot better. As a crew we are getting more consistent but there is more to come”.
Chambers said: “We were quite confident that we were the quickest crew through the middle of the race. We kept our cool and when we wanted to step on, we did, and had a devastating effect on the rest of the field. It’s a fantastic feeling to be back in a winning crew”.
By 1000m they were considerably ahead of the field with Germany tracking on the inside and the Czech Republic on the far side. At 1500m they had almost three seconds on the field and went onto win in 7:02.39. The Czechs took silver with Germany in bronze.
An hour and twelve minutes later, Watkins and Grainger had joined Vernon and Rodford in the quadruple scull final. This is an event in which Germany has a proud reputation – one that has been dented somewhat by the British and Chinese in the past four years.
On home water, the German quartet stormed into a big lead in the final. They held on and held on and held on. Behind them the Ukraine and Great Britain battled to get back in contention. By the final 300m only GB looked capable of upsetting the home crowd. In the end, Germany clung on and won in 6:30.70 with GB second.
“It was a very tough race. We knew that the Germans would up their game from the heat. We knew it would be tough to go with them. We were confident that our pace would be enough. But they got too much ahead at the start”, said Rodford afterwards.
Watkins added: “All credit to the Germans, they took it on at the start and moved away in the second 500m. I’m really pleased with our finishing speed and the British grit and determination we showed but it just wasn’t enough today”.
Annabel Vernon said: “All credit to the Germans but we let them get too far ahead of us”.
Katherine Grainger added: “Having raced a few times internationally the other crews have begun to know our strengths so the obvious thing was to attack us off the start. We perhaps didn’t expect the Germans to go out that quickly but I’m pleased with the way we responded. We did everything that we should have done but just ran out of room at the end”.
Of the double scull victory she said: “We felt we were in control and did what we had to do. Anna was brilliant in the bow seat making all the calls so that we didn’t do more than we should have”.
“It was a good race. We were pushed a lot harder than we had been. We didn’t have a comfortable second half of the race but we were forced to row well under pressure and I was pleased with how we dealt with it”, said Watkins of the double scull race.
Germany and Romania were battling for the lead early in the women’s eight race today with the home nation ahead at 500m but with Romania leading at halfway. On the far side, the British women’s eight were third and looking quite strong. Spurred on by cox Caroline O’Connor and stroked by Caroline O’Connor they held onto that third place tenaciously whilst Romania extended their lead at the head of the race.
In the final 500m China attacked the medal places and but the British line-up of Jo Cook, Louisa Reeve, Natasha Page, Vicky Thornley, Jess Eddie, Lindsey Maguire, Olivia Whitlam, Alison Knowles and their cox timed their final surge to take silver from Germany on the line.
“This year we have done some great pieces in training compared to last year and today we found that something different when we needed to, having not had the best first 500m. But we are hunting the wins”, said Olivia Whitlam.
“We were not as slick as we have been, were a bit scrappy and we can do better than that”, said Eddie who with Reeve had earlier raced to a third place in the B Final of the women’s pair. “But I’m pleased with how we came back into it”.
Reeve said: “That was a good race. It was disappointing not to win but it was pretty awesome to row through another crew like that”.
Maguire added: “I was disappointed with the start but we didn’t panic and Caroline (O’Connor) called it really well to get us back into our rhythm and our race plan and I was really pleased with our finish”.
Cook said: “It wasn’t shocking but our standard is much higher now and we can do better than that. We didn’t quite have the same confidence here as we had in Bled but we need to experience this kind of pressure in a race”.
Thornley said: “Even when we were behind we kept our heads and kept to our race plan”.
Alison Knowles added: “We looked for it a bit too much today and were maybe a bit tense on the start. We were relaxed in Bled but we have expectations and wanted to prove here that what we achieved last month in winning wasn’t a flash in the pan.
“Last year we were sometimes in contention in races at 750m and then were rowed right out of them. This year is different. We had the ability to respond”.
O’Connor added: “We didn’t have one of our best starts. But we stayed cool and changed a couple of our moves to sneak back on the Germans”.
New Zealand were the early leaders in the women’s pair final. By 500m they were over a second up on the remainder of the field and dominated the whole race from there to win in 7:15.64.
On the grandstand side, Great Britain’s Helen Glover and Heather Stanning were leading the chasing pack from 500m through to 1000m but could not contain Romania and China who moved ahead by 1500m with the Germans coming through in the final 300m to take fourth.
The British duo, whose fifth place here is another step forward, have made their senior world cup debut this season together with both having come through the GB Rowing Team’s Start programme.
“I feel like every time we race we learn something that we can take into the next race”, said Glover. “Every race is a bonus”. Stanning, meanwhile, a former world U23 women’s pair champion has come back into the sport after a year of concentrating
on her career with the British Army.
Inevitably the men’s pair final commenced with the World Champions New Zealand and the British 2009 world silver medallists Pete Reed and Andrew Triggs Hodge ploughing to the front in a resumption of their tense battles of the past 12 months – all of them won to date by New Zealand.
The pairs matched each other stroke by stroke to the 500m where the Antipodeans had a slight lead. This race looked set to become gladitorial and it did.
Eric Murray and Hamish Bond had carved out a half-length lead by 1000m. But the British pair responded in a much closer fashion than in previous races with Serbia in third and a chasing group behind them including Tom Burton and Cameron Nichol who have showed strongly here this weekend.
Just past the 1500m mark both leading crews picked up the pace and threw everything they could into the final long wind-up to the line. Reed and Hodge narrowed the gap to under a second and dug deep. At the line they were close but victory went once more to the New Zealanders in 6:30.05. Nichol and Burton were fifth with Serbia taking bronze behind Reed and Hodge.
It was clear that both British men felt they had made a step forward since the last world cup in Slovenia. “I was disappointed with Bled”, said Hodge afterwards. “But here I feel we’ve got back up to where we should be. I’m looking forward to the rest of the year and particularly to November and the world championships when we need to be at our best”.
“I thought we had them with 500m to go”, said Reed. “We had a good race. It was very ballsy. This was the first time that we have been side by side for such a long time in a race. The good thing is that we can be proud of our performance and we are getting closer to them”.
Matt Wells and Marcus Bateman were a sliver ahead of Switzerland by 500m in their men’s double scull final. France on their inside were also challenging strongly by halfway where they had pushed past Switzerland to track the British duo who have come together this season as a new combination.
Anyone looking at the faces of the British as they moved through the halfway point 0.8 seconds ahead could see the absolute look of determination to succeed. That determination paid off because in the next 250m they applied further pressure to lead from Berrest and Bahain of France. It was all still to play for, though, as the sprint for the line started but France could not close the gap. Victory to Wells and Bateman in 4:45.51.
“We have pushed hard from the heats through the semis to the final today. We wanted to set our stall out at this world cup”, said Bateman.
“We wanted to be quick and we wanted to dominate and I think we’ve done that. But France are a class act. They pushed us all the way today and I’m sure they’ll continue to get stronger”.
“Marcus and I are a really good unit. We have a common goal. We are taking each race as it comes and we are very focussed. There is a lot of hard work that has gone into training but we are starting to see what we can do”, added Wells.
The British men’s four of Alex Partridge, Alex Gregory, Ric Egington and Matt Langridge, the world champions, were slow to the 500m mark in today’s final. Conversely, the Australian quartet, stroked by Francis Hegerty flew off the start and had a length lead on the field.
At the halfway mark GB had pushed back from fifth to fourth with New Zealand in second and the USA in third.
Still Australia sailed onwards but GB made a significant move from 1100- 1300m and were in second at this point. By 1500m they had an overlap on the Australians. As the crews surged towards the line, the USA came up quickly to pip the British quartet for silver with Australia taking gold in 5:59.91.
“I just don’t think we were quick enough throughout today”, said Matt Langridge when questioned about the first 500m. “We’ve come up against two crews today that are in great form and we haven’t hit our stride yet this year”.
“We slipped off the start. We knew the Australians would be quick out of the blocks and thought we could catch them in the middle part of the race but it didn’t happen today”, Egington said.
Gregory added: “Our start isn’t as quick as everyone else’s and it’s where we need to improve. It didn’t feel quite right today. Yesterday was a better race”.
Partridge: “It was a very fast race with very good crews. At the moment we are not at our best at the beginning of the race so we are always playing catch-up”.
The GB Rowing Team’s men’s quadruple scull began their season in Munich having missed Bled through injury. Today they were second at the 500m with Croatia in a strong lead and Germany tracking Sam Townsend, Bill Lucas, Charles Cousins and Stephen Rowbotham.
By 1000m, the Germans had pushed their bowball ahead of GB with Croatia, looking quick and light, out in front. Those roles did not change as the race moved passed the granstands much to the delight of the home crowd. The ambition of the British crew means that they will view their bronze medals as a disappointment.
“Overall I suppose we are quite pleased but we are also critical of ourselves. You always like to win but I think this is still a good start to the season”, said Cousins.
“I think we are aware of where we need to be now”, said Rowbotham. “We’re a bit disappointed today but this is generally our world championships field with only perhaps the Italians to join it so we know that this result is a good stepping stone”.
Lucas added: “It was a very tough race and it’s a fair reflection of where we are. We have only been together for two weeks so we need time to sharpen up”.
Townsend said: “Overall we should be pleased that as this is the toughest field we have faced. So this means more than the silver medals we won last year. We are still a bit rough round the edges but we have improved race by race here so it’s a good positive start for us”.
The British men’s eight medallists here in Munich but probably not best pleased that they collected bronze rather than the gold of Bled a month ago. The field here included Germany who went onto win in front of their home crowd after leading a tight race in the first half before pulling out to victory by three seconds.
Britain, meanwhile, were sixth at 500m but hauled themselves back up through the field to take bronze behind China in silver.
The line-up including Nathaniel Reilly O’Donnell, James Clarke, James Orme, James Foad, Mohamed Sbihi, Greg Searle, Tom Broadway and Dan Ritchie plus cox Phelan Hill were clearly diffident about the result.
Clarke said: “We had a plan and we executed it but it didn’t work. We’ve got a long way to go”.
Ritchie added: “That wasn’t our best race. We couldn’t sustain our pace and we didn’t have the same devastating push that we had in Bled”.
Searle said: “It was disappointing that we weren’t quicker but our regular boat speed was just too slow today. When we tried to push on it just didn’t happen. I’m happy to get a medal but we’ve got a lot of work to do”.
Alan Campbell was an early leader in the men’s single scull final but by the time the race reached the 500m mark it was Ondrej Synek who had hit the front with Lassi Karonen of Sweden in third with Marcel Hacker of Germany behind him.
Hacker began to challenge just after the 1000m mark but by this time Synek was over three seconds ahead with Campbell dropping back to fifth in a tightly-bunched field. Karonen was second and Olaf Tufte of Norway third.
In the end, Synek held on for victory whilst Hacker gave the home crowd something to cheer by taking a close silver and Tufte, the Olympic champion, finished in bronze. By his standards, this was a disappointment for Campbell who was fifth in 7:13.86.
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(Races featuring GB Rowing Team crews only.
Full results at www.worldrowing.com)
1. Juliette Haigh/Rebecca Scown (New Zealand) 7;15.64
2. Adelina Cojocariu/Nicoleta Albu (Romania 2) 7:21.51
3. Li Tong/Li Meng (China 1) 7:22.03
4. Kerstin Hartmann/Marlene Sinnig (Germany 1) 7;24.97
5. Helen Glover/Heather Stanning (GREAT BRITAIN3) 7:26.84
6. Camelia Lupascu/Eniko Mironcic (Romania 1) 7:35.14
1. Romania 6:21.89
2. Jo Cook/Louisa Reeve/Natasha Page/Vicky Thornley/Jess Eddie
/Lindsey Maguire/Olivia Whitlam/Alison Knowles/Caroline
O’Connor (cox) (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:24.50
3. Germany 6:25.32
4. China 6:27.21
5. Poland 6:40.93
1. Anna Watkins/Katherine Grainger (GREAT BRITAIN) 7:02.39
2. Lenka & Jitka Antosova (Czech Republic) 7:04.75
3. Annekatrin Thiele/Julia Richter (Germany 1) 7:05.48
4. Tian Liang/Zhang Yangyang (China) 7:10.56
5. Olena Olefirenko/Natallia Lilachuk (Ukraine) 7:16.74
6. Anastasiya Fadzeyenka/Katsiaryna Shilupskaya (Belarus) 7:24.32
1. Eric Murray/Hamish Bond (New Zealand) 6:30.05
2. Peter Reed/Andrew Triggs Hodge (GREAT BRITAIN 1) 6:30.84
3. Marko Marjanovic/Nikola Stojic (Serbia) 6:43.53
4. Ionut Minea/Marius Luchian (Romania) 6:46.09
5. Cameron Nichol/Tom Burton (GREAT BRITAIN 2) 6:46.62
6. Shaun Keeling/Ramon di Clemente (South Africa) 6:56.36
1. Germany 5:44.22
2. China 5:47.29
3. Nathaniel Reilly O’Donnell/James Clarke/James Orme/James
Foad/Mohamed Sbihi/Greg Searle/Tom Broadway/Dan Ritchie
Phelan Hill (cox) (GREAT BRITAIN) 5:50.39
4. Poland 5:50.53
5. Croatia 5:54.01
6. Ukraine 5:54.67
1. Ondrej Synek (Czech Republic) 7:00.57
2. Marcel Hacker (Germany) 7;02.32
3. Olaf Tufte (Norway) 7:05.88
4. Lassi Karonen (Sweden) 7:06.78
5. Alan Campbell (GREAT BRITAIN) 7:13.86
6. Malcolm Howard (Canada) 7:23.34
1. Matthew Wells/Marcus Bateman (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:20.90
2. Cedric Berrest/Julien Bahain (France) 6:22.68
3. Eric Johannesen/Sebastian Peter (Germany) 6:24.55
4. Glen Ochal/Warren Anderson (USA) 6:24.71
5. Andre Vonarburg/Florian Stofer (Switzerland) 6:25.88
6. Liu Hang/Shi Zhiqiang (China) 6:38.01
1. Croatia 5:49.91
2. Germany 5:52.91
3. Stephen Rowbotham/Charles Cousins/Bill Lucas/Sam
Townsend (GREAT BRITAIN) 5:54.17
4. Australia 5:55.81
5. Russia 5:57.37
6. Poland 6:00.47
1. Hester Goodsell/Sophie Hosking (GREAT BRITAIN) 7:10.74
2. Liu Jing/Huang Wenyi (China) 7:13.58
3. Daniela Reimer/Anja Noske (Germany) 7:15.12
4. Steph Cullen/Andrea Dennis (GREAT BRITAIN) 7:19.72
5. Jo Hammond/Evi Geentjens (Belgium) 7:21.90
6. Pamela Weisshaupt/Olivia Wyss (Switzerland) 7:24.73
1. Zac Purchase/Mark Hunter (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:26.56
2. Storm Uru/Peter Taylor (New Zealand) 6:27.60
3. Linus Lichtschlag/Lars Hartig (Germany) 6:30.75
4. Jonathan Winter/Brian de Regt (USA) 6;37.05
5. Wang Tiexin/Sun Jie (China 1) 6:39.21
6. Gerardo Sanchez Duran/Alan Eber Armenta Vega (Mexico) 6:42.18
1. Sun Zhenping/Sun Mieling (China 2) 7;27.18
2. Zhang Huan/Liu Jiahuan (China 4) 7:28.09
3. Jess Eddie/Louisa Reeve (GREAT BRITAIN 1) 7:31.96
4. Sarah Tait/Sarah Cook (Australia) 7:32.66
5. Sonja Keserac/Maja Anic (Croatia) 7:35.98
6. Mayya Zhuchkova/Alevtina Podvyazkina 7:39.12
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GB ROWING TEAM ENTRIES
2010 Rowing World Cup, Munich, 18-20 June
(listed bow to stroke plus cox)
Pairs – two boats
Jo Cook (Leander Club/Sunbury-on-Thames/22.03.84)/
Louisa Reeve (LeanderClub/London/16.05.84)/
Natasha Page (Reading Uni BC/Hartpury/30.04.85)/
Victoria Thornley (Minerva Bath/Wrexham/30.11.87)/
Jessica Eddie (Uni of London BC/Durham/07.10.84)/
Lindsey Maguire (Wallingford RC/Edinburgh/15.01.82)/
Olivia Whitlam (Agecroft RC/Warrington/16.09.85)/
Alison Knowles (Thames RC/Bournemouth/27.03.82)/
Caroline O’Connor (Oxford Brookes Uni BC/Ealing/25.04.83) (cox)
Pair – two boats
Peter Reed (Leander Club/Nailsworth, Glos/27.07.81)/
Andrew Triggs Hodge (Molesey BC/Hebden, N.Yorks/03.03.79)
Cameron Nichol (Molesey/Glastonbury/26.6.87)/
Tom Burton (Leander Club/Barton-le-Clay, Beds/24.05.80)
Nathaniel Reilly-O’Donnell (Uni of London/Durham/13.04.88)/
James Clarke (London RC/London/31.12.84)/
James Orme (Leander Club/Colchester/01.04.84)/
James Foad (Molesey BC/Southampton/20.03.87)/
Mohamed Sbihi (Molesey BC/Surbiton/27.03.88)/
Greg Searle (Molesey BC/Marlow/20.03.72)/
Tom Broadway (Leander Club/Newport Pagnell/21.08.82)
Daniel Ritchie (Herne Bay RC/Herne Bay/06.01.87)/
Phelan Hill (cox) (Leander Club/Bedford/21.07.79)
Single scull – two boats
Alan Campbell (Tideway Scullers/Coleraine/09.05.83)
Brendan Crean (Agecroft/Lewes/07.02.85)
Matthew Wells (Leander Club/Hexham, Northumberland/19.04.79)
Marcus Bateman (Leander Club/Torquay/16.09.82)/
Stephen Rowbotham (Leander Club/Winscombe, Somerset/11.11.81)/
Charles Cousins (Reading Uni BC/Cambridge/13.12.88)/
Bill Lucas (Reading Uni BC/Kingswear/13.09.87)/
Sam Townsend (Reading Uni BC/Reading/26.11.85)
Double scull – two boats
Hester Goodsell (Reading Uni BC/London/27.06.84)/
Sophie Hosking (London RC/Wimbledon/25.01.86)
Stephanie Cullen (London RC/Putney, London/27.11.80)/
Andrea Dennis (Reading Uni BC/Oxford/03.01.82)
Chris Boddy (Leander Club/Stockton-on-Tees/16.11.87)/
Adam Freeman-Pask (Imperial College BC/Windsor/19.06.85)
Peter Chambers (Oxford Brookes Uni RC/Coleraine/14.03.90)
Zac Purchase (Marlow RC/Tewkesbury/02.05.86)/
Mark Hunter (Leander Club/Romford, Essex/01.07.78)
Management & Support Staff
David Tanner, Team Manager
Maggie Netto, Assistant TM