Watkins and Campbell to defend Wingfield Sculls titles

[newsimage=0]World Champion sculler Anna Watkins and her GB Rowing Team colleague Alan Campbell will both be defending their domestic titles in the Wingfield Sculls on the Thames this week.

Watkins and Campbell will line up on Thursday for the 171st race from Putney to Mortlake to win the pair of silver sculls donated by the race’s founder Henry C Wingfield “to be held by the best”.

In the women’s race at 12:15pm Watkins faces fellow GB scullers Beth Rodford, 2010 World Champion in the quadruple scull, and Ro Bradbury, who was part of the quad which finished fifth at the 2009 World Championships and a reserve for this year’s event.

“We’re just four weeks into our new training year, so we are very much still feeling the soreness of new weights programs and the sting of the freshly arrived cold weather,” said Watkins, who successfully defended her World crown in the double scull with Katherine Grainger in Slovenia last month.

“I’m really looking forward to kicking off the Olympic preparation with the first race of the season. Wingfields is a special event and it’s an honour to compete.”

Campbell, a three-time winner, faces challengers for his crown including Tom Solesbury and Adam Freeman-Pask who raced in the quadruple scull and the lightweight men’s single at the 2011 World Championships.

Henry Pelly from the GB Rowing Team’s under 23 squad completes the line-up for the race which starts at 1:15pm.

“The Wingfields is hugely prestigious,” said Campbell who won bronze in the single scull at the 2011 World Championships.

“To already have my name etched along sides the likes of Sir Steve Redgrave, Bill Barry and Jack Beresford Jnr is an honour. I’m really happy to have been allowed to defend my title in such a prominent season in the Olympic cycle.

“I can only hope that I go on to achieve the same success as those previous winners at London 2012.”

The contenders will race in their club colours for the event.