Top rowers confirmed for Dorney World Cup

More than 400 athletes from across the world will converge on Eton Dorney next week to take part in the Samsung World Rowing Cup from 21-23 June.

The World Rowing Federation, FISA, has announced that 197 crews from 40 nations will bring the iconic 2012 Olympic venue back to life almost a year since the success of the London 2012 Games.

Entries have now closed for the three days of racing which will feature Olympic champions like Andrew Triggs Hodge and Peter Reed, racing in an eight for the second time at a world cup this season, and Helen Glover from the GB Rowing Team as well as Olympic medal-winning crews from nations such as Germany and Croatia.

Britain, who topped the medal table at last year’s Games, will field their biggest entry of all time for a world cup with 76 rowers in 29 boats as the home nation offers an opportunity for new and exciting rowers to make their mark alongside the more established stars.

“We will have a big crowd at Eton Dorney on all three days and it will be a good opportunity to give our emerging and U23 crews the chance to taste the intensity of World Cup racing alongside our more established and experienced stars”, said Sir David Tanner, GB Rowing Team Performance Director.

“We do not expect to repeat the heights of our medal haul from 2012 – after all this is a transitional year with some top rowers taking a break or having retired – but I am sure we will give the home crowd some exciting racing and something to cheer for”, he added.

China has also entered a large team and there should be scope for some good old Aussie v GB rivalry in four of the Olympic class events.

Alan Campbell, bronze medallist in the men’s single scull last year, faces a tough test with the Czech Republic’s on-form Ondrej Synek, silver medallist at London 2012, as well as seasoned campaigner Marcel Hacker in his event.

Campbell will no doubt relish the challenge, and the Northern Irishman feels that he can continue to improve this year:

“My goal is Rio. Sir Steve Redgrave had five Olympic Games. I’ve done three and each one has been better than the one before,” Campbell said.

“I’m still trying to improve all the time and I want my career to be defined as one of constant improvement.”

The men’s quadruple scull looks set to be an exciting field with Germany, the Olympic champions, and Croatia, the Olympic silver medallists looking set to go head-to-head. Britain has a new line-up in this boat class, too, with Sam Townsend, Charles Cousins, Peter Lambert and Graeme Thomas seeking to make their mark.

Great Britain’s first ever female Olympic gold medallist in rowing, Helen Glover, will be lining up with new partner Polly Swann in the women’s pair, while the popular New Zealand men’s pair of Hamish Bond and Eric Murray, unbeaten since 2009, will be showing their form for the first time this season on the regatta course where they became Olympic Champions in 2012.

Glover recently expressed her excitement at going back to Dorney for the first time since taking gold last year:

“It’s really exciting. I haven’t been back since, so the last time I got out of my boat there I had just become Olympic champion,” she said. “Going back, I’ve got to make sure that the event doesn’t get on top of me.

“It’s a great opportunity and I’ve got friends who didn’t get tickets last year who are coming to watch. It’s a good way to signify a new chapter after the Olympics,” she added.

Tickets for the event have sold quickly.  Pre-sales are now sold-out for Friday and Sunday with just a few hundred available on the door on the day.  Saturday tickets, for the semi-finals of most events and the para-rowing finals, are also selling fast but are still available on-line along with the outline racing schedule at:  www.wrcupetondorney2013.com.

The GB women will now contest the regatta in smaller boats with no women’s eight event available to them.  So Swann and Glover will probably find the draw, to be made on Thursday 20 June, pitches them against some of their domestic rivals as two more GB pairs have been announced today as well as a women’s quadruple scull.

Brothers Peter and Richard Chambers will race together for GB in the lightweight men’s double scull. The Olympic silver medallists have recently teamed up to talk about their rivalry, how top rowers train and the stresses of “event day”. You can see the opening film here with two more to follow next week: www.youtube.com/watch?v=gO7c2RVKYtQ.

Sisters Monica and Pamela Relph will also be in action. Monica races in the women’s quadruple scull whilst Pamela is one of GB’s two returning Paralympic gold medallists who will compete in para-rowing’s mixed coxed four with fellow 2012 Champion Naomi Riches.

The 2013 World Rowing regatta season started early in the Southern Hemisphere in late March. The first stage of the 2013 Samsung World Rowing Cup series was held at the Sydney International Regatta Centre, venue of the 2000 Olympic Rowing Regatta. Australia finished at the top of the medals table in Sydney, ahead of Great Britain and New Zealand. This World Cup regatta was followed by the European Rowing Championships two months later in Seville, Spain, where Germany finished at the head of the field with Italy in second and the Czech Republic and Romania in a tie for third. 

Dorney Lake, a part of Eton College, has hosted a number of World Rowing regattas in recent years, including the 2005 World Rowing Cup, the 2006 World Rowing Championships and the 2011 World Rowing Junior Championships.

“We are set for a very exciting weekend of racing”, said event Chairman Ben Hunt-Davis.  “The strong ticket sales we have had so far prove that there is a huge appetite to watch top sport in the UK. I am sure people who didn’t get the chance to go to the Olympics last year will want to visit the venue and soak up the atmosphere of a big event, whilst those who did attend will be coming back for more”.

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