Historic gold for GB Rowing Team men’s eight at Worlds
The British men’s eight won a World Championships gold for the first time in history today on Korea’s Lake Tangeum.
In a landmark performance they led the race for all bar the first 250m, beating the reigning World and Olympic Champions Germany into silver in a time of 5:30.35.
Will Satch, George Nash, Andrew Triggs Hodge, Mohamed Sbihi, Pete Reed, Alex Gregory, Tom Ransley, Daniel Ritchie and Phelan Hill are now indelibly printed on the already rich history of British Rowing.
Earlier in the day the lightweight men’s four took bronze to bring Britain’s tally from the weekend’s finals to two golds and five bronzes with the para-rowing mixed coxed four also winning gold last Wednesday.
“I am a bit shell-shocked but it’s fantastic to win a medal”, said Adam Freeman Pask of a race in which the winning Danes set a blistering pace.
Sir David Tanner, Performance Director of the GB Rowing Team said: “I am very proud of our rowers today. The men’s eight gold was the perfect conclusion to the first Championships of the Rio Olympiad.
“Well done also today on a superb bronze for the lightweight men’s four, a massive step on in the past few weeks for three new rowers and the experienced Chris Bartley.
“The men’s eight has been an exciting project, with its challenges for our top guns, and this came together in the last six weeks under Jurgen Grobler’s excellent coaching.
“Overall we had 41 rowers in the Olympic class A finals and both of our Para-boats in their A Finals.
“There was an exceptional spread of medal winning countries, here in Chungju, which is great for our sport and we now have a strong platform to build towards Olympic and Paralympic qualification in two years time on the Road to Rio”.
The women’s double scull of twice Olympic silver medallist Frances Houghton and Victoria Meyer-Laker came agonisingly close to a medal in fourth place. That was where Alan Campbell and the women’s eight finished too.
Olivia Carnegie-Brown on the women’s eight who put in such a good finishing effort said: “We came into the regatta looking for a medal even though we were ranked fifth. We had a poor heat and then redeemed ourselves in the repechage.
“Today we went for it, changed the seat order, changed the plan and went out there and gave it our everything and we didn’t’ win a medal but we did move up a place on the rankings”.
The World Championships can be followed today on-line at www.worldrowing.com and is being televised by BBC TV in the UK:
Sunday 1st September
15.00 – 16.30 highlights show on BBC Two
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British heart-rates amongst the crowd and the support team went up as the crews for the men’s eight final were announced on the start.
The top of the GB Rowing Team sweep squad had been put in the GB eight this season including three Olympic champions from the 2012 four – Alex Gregory, Andrew Triggs Hodge and Pete Reed. They were joined by World medallists Dan Ritchie, Tom Ransley, Mohamed Sbihi and Phelan HIll as well as Olympic men’s pair bronze medallists Will Satch and George Nash.
Germany showed their hand first within the first 15 strokes to get a marginal lead. The British boat, stroked by Satch, did not let them get away.
GB were a canvas down at 250m gone before pushing again to take the lead – but only just as the 500m mark approached. France was also looking good on the far side with the USA slightly behind.
Stroke by stoke the British inched up to a canvas lead over the green shell of the German boat. At halfway they were a half length ahead and the heart-beast soared again in the British section of the crowd.
GB, Germany and the USA were sitting in the medal slots as the race moved past the three-quarter mark. GB moved on again. Surely it would be enough? Yes. The Germans were coming back but not quick enough. Victory to the GB boat and a unique niche in the annals of rowing.
Dan Ritchie said: “It is great to be part of history. It’s pure elation but also relief as we went across the line”.
Tom Ransley said: “I feel really attached to the eight because I’ve rowed in it for the last five years and I know how close we have come to that record and breaking it before. It is nice to have finally won it”.
Ransley added that the difference since Lucerne where they were outside the medals at the last world cup was: “I think we have focussed on our training and stayed believing in ourself and we were strong when it counted
Cox Phelan Hill spoke of the last 250m when the Germans looked to be closing on the tiring British crew: “The last 250m became very simple”, he said, “just stepping up every 10 strokes, keeping it on the legs and holding our lengths and coin everything together. It was an awesome race”.
William Satch talked of the way the seat-order changes since Lucerne had made a difference: “I think those changes made a difference. Not necessarily putting me and George up there but putting everyone in the right seats. I had all the confidence in the world in the boys. To do that in the middle of the race, the bulk of the race was really nice. Now we have shown we can do it, now we need to bed that in if we do an eight again but we’ll have to see”.
George Nash returned to the boat since finishing his exams at Cambridge. “I was probably not at my best physically when I came back into the boat but we have done some really good training since then.
“It has been a real pleasure working with everyone else. It’s been a real professional and positive atmosphere in the heavyweight men’s group and particularly in this eight.
“I am really, really happy and chuffed that we pulled it off today as I definitely was confident but also nervous about us not quite doing it. I know that we are fast but I didn’t know if we were quite fast enough. It was awesome to be on the right side of it. It was an awesome race to part of one of Jurgen’s boats to feel what it is like”.
Pete Reed added: “It was an amazing race. We are part of history now in the British eight. Not just the result but the performance backed up the result and the history. It was a pleasure and privilege to be part of it. Eight amazing guys to share that with and who contributed in such amazing ways all the way down the boat.
“We are up for this all week. I am absolutely thrilled. I have some fabulous memories that I can share in the future with these guys.
“The venue here is also magical. It looks like an Olympics. You can see that people really care here.
“Finally, I have thought a lot about Acer recently (the 2008 Olympic cox who died recently) He was a good friend and I know he would have wanted us to be here and I am glad that we are bringing back a gold medal which I think we should dedicate to him”.
Andrew Triggs Hodge: “Today was just about performing what we know we could do. We had a glimmer of that in the heats. Also, we have those memories of Lucerne and even Dorney in our minds. They weren’t very good rows. We knew we could perform at the highest level, it was just a case of doing it. So all the way down the course, for every stroke we wanted to execute it clinically and coldly but with gallons of passion on top.
“We knew we had to be good to beat that German eight. We knew that we they wouldn’t lie down at let us take their event. We could feel the power and we never let up. Riding that was just phenomenal, it was really great to be part of it. That was phenomenal”.
Three new rowers won selection into this GB Rowing Team boat in 2013 – Will Fletcher, Jonno Clegg and Adam Freeman-Pask – to compete alongside Chris Bartley who won the world title in 2010 and was an Olympic silver last year at Eton Dorney.
They turned heads in winning their semi-final in style and were first off the start today. Denmark, quickly realising the threat, moved up swiftly to take the lead at 500m gone with New Zealand coming through into second place ahead of GB.
On a mirror-like surface the GB boat slipped back to fourth by halfway behind France but still in contention for the podium. At the head of the field the Kiwis and Danes were setting a scorching pace. GB moved up into third with a good push.
With the British supporters in the grandstands roaring them on, the British quartet picked up the pace. Denmark stretched their lead to take gold, New Zealand were a close second with GB keeping the rhythm set by Bartley at stroke to take bronze.
“Adam Freeman-Pask: “Great to pick up a medal just a little shell-shocked.
“Early on, I felt we paced it really well as we were right in the mix so we were in the right position to strike but then the race did kick on and we had a struggle with the French”.
Chris Bartley: “I wasn’t really surprised at the pace that the New Zealanders and Danes set. We have been playing catch up all year. There are a few more years of experience over us in those boats. For the three new guys, it is just amazing at their first World Championships in an Olympic boat. It’s been hard work but it’s been a pleasure to be with them and work with them”.
Will Fletcher: “We had a race plan , we went off nice and hard and then got into our rythmn and they went out fast, after that we were trying to claw back. I’m a bit shocked at what has just happened, a bronze at a senior worlds. That’s amazing from where we were a few months ago.
Twice Olympic silver medallist Frances Houghton and Vicky Meyer-Laker, a 2011 European finalist in the women’s eight, won both their heat and semi to qualify for today’s final of the open women’s double scull.
This, of course, is the boat in which Anna Watkins and Katherine Grainger took gold in the Olympic Games last year. This season’s incumbents were bronze medallists at the season opening world cup in Australia before taking gold at Eton-Dorney.
Today in Korea the duo got a solid start behind Lithuania who were leading at 250m gone. Lithuania, GB and New Zealand had a third of a length over the remainder of the field.
Houghton and Meyer-Laker came up level with Lithuania a third of the way into the race but New Zealand were also looking threatening.
By the halfway stage the Antipdoeans just had their nose in front with Lithuania in second and GB third. Belarus was still in contention in lane one as were the Germans in lane five.
Lithuania put in a blistering 10 strokes to move away just after the halfway mark and the Kiwis responded leaving GB behind. As the pace increased the leaders surged away and the British boat was left to try and hold off the finish of the Belarussians. Ultimately, they could not find the speed and were fourth in 6:58.67.
Frances Houghton: We ran out of steam. We really put ourselves out there and we just didn’t have that for the whole of the 2k. We did everything that we said we wanted to do and that wasn’t possible for the whole seven minutes”.
VML: It is my first world champs so being in the A final was really great. It was a chacne to put the cards on the table and see what we could do. I wanted to really lay it down as we have moved on since Lucerne. We were right up there in the first half and I don’t really know when we started to drop back because I was focussed on us. It is really disappoint to be close to the medals and now quite get there but we’ve had a great season and I have really enjoyed the experience of rowing with Fran.
Paul Thompson and Robin Williams, coaching the women’s eight, made a change to its rig to a tandem in the past few days to move Beth Rodford down the boat from bow. The results in training proved positive so that’s how they lined up for today’s final.
Coxed by Zoe de Toledo and stroked by Olivia Carnegie-Brown, the British crew got off to a good start and as the race settled into its pace they were still tightly in contention in the lane closest to the grandstands.
The USA, World and Olympic Champions began to nose ahead after 350m and were ahead from there to the finish to win in 6:02.14. Australia, GB, Romania and Canada were all in with a chance at this point. Only the Netherlands seemed to falter.
At halfway GB were in fifth but stuck to the task at hand and battled up to fourth in the final 500m where they finished in 6;11.80. Canada took bronze and Romania the silver behind the USA.
Zoe de Toledo, the cox, said: We had a pretty blinding finish. So it’s just a case of working on the middle in the future”.
Zoe Lee added: “We had a very good camp in Breisach and you could see that with every training block we were moving forward”,
Alan Campbell is a veteran of these kind of occasions but still as passionate about his sport and the people in it as ever. A fraternity exists amongst single scullers and he went to toddays’ start line with several good friends – but not with Olympic champion Mahe Drysdale of New Zealand who went out in the quarter-finals.
Campbell arrived in Korea in much better fettle than in Lucerne and the final world cup where he was xth.
In Korea today he got a decent start and was slotted into third place behind Olympic medallist Ondrej Synek of the Czech Republic and Germany’s Marcel Hacker.
In the second half Angel Fournier Rodriguez of Cuba put in a surge to move up to third and that’s the way it all stayed to the line despite a strong push from Campbell who came home fourth in 6:51.44 in a race won by Synek.
Vicky Thornley has enjoyed a strong season in the single scull after previously racing in the women’s quad and eight. Today she won her B Final, the equivalent to being ranked 7th in the world overall for 2013.
Thornley started well and her bowball out front by 250m gone. She remained calm when the Ukraine’s Nataliya Dovgodko went ahead at 450m and responded when needed to go ahead at the 1500m mark and power on to win in 7:32.36. Russia were second and Ukraine third.
Matt Langridge, Olympic men’s eight bronze medallist who made a late return to the sport after his post-Games break and Bill Lucas, put in a strong first half of their men’s double scull B final today. They led by just under a second from Serbia at that stage.
In the final 600m Serbia made their move and took the lead, leaving Lucas and Langridge to battle with the fast-finishing Australians in the final 500m – a tussle they lost with 150m to go to come home in third in 6:15.32.
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FINALS – Sunday 1st September
1. USA 6:02.14
2. Romania 6:07.04
3. Canada 6:09.34
4. Melanie Wilson/Caragh McMurtry/Louisa Reeve/Beth Rodford/Jess Eddie/Zoe Lee/Katie Greves/Olivia Carnegie-Brown/Zoe de Toledo (cox) (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:11.80
5. Australia 6:12.30
6. Netherlands 6:18.60
1. Donata Vistartaite/Milda Valciukaite (Lithuania) 6:51.82
2. Fiona Bourke/Zoe Stevenson (New Zealand) 6:51.86
3. Ekaterina Karsten/Yuliya Bichyk (Belarus) 6:55.90
4. Frances Houghton/Victoria Meyer-Laker (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:58.67
5. Julia Lier/Mareike Adams (Germany) 7:00.66
6. Mette petersen/Lisbet Jakobsen (Denmark) 7:04.72
1. Daniel Ritchie/Tom Ransley/Alex Gregory/Pete Reed/Mohamed Sbihi/Andrew Triggs Hodge/George Nash/William Satch/Phelan Hill (cox) (GREAT BRITAIN) 5:30.35
2. Germany 5:30.89
3. USA 5;33.92
4. Poland 5:35.59
5. Netherlands 5:37.11
6. France 5:37.19
1. Ondrej Synek (Czech Republic) 6:45.24
2. Marcel Hacker (Germany) 6:48.91
3. Angel Fournier Rodriguez (Cuba) 6:49.39
4. Alan Campbell (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:51.44
5. Roel Braas (Netherlands) 6:52.70
6. Mindaugas Griskonis (Lithuania) 6:56.19
1. Victoria Thornley (GREAT BRITAIN) 7:32.36
2. Julia Levina (Russia) 7:34.31
3. Nataliya Dovgodko (Ukraine) 7:37.89
4. Micheen Thornycroft (Zimbabwe) 7:38.59
5. Tale Gjoertz (Norway) 7:40.52
6. Elza Gulbe (Latvia) 7:44.05
1. Marko Marjanovic/Aleksandr Filipovic (Serbia) 6:12.51
2. Thomas Swann/Alexander Belonogoff (Australia) 6:14.18
3. Matt Langridge/Bill Lucas (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:15.32
4. Benjamin Dann/John Graves (USA) 6:18.84
5. Adrian Ibanez Oquendo/Janier Concepcion Hernandez (Cuba) 6:19.21
6. Frank Steffensen/Sophus Johannesen (Denmark) 6:20.00
FINALS – SATURDAY 31st August
1. Helen Glover/Polly Swann (GREAT BRITAIN) 7:17.73
2. Roxana Cogianu/Nicoleta Albu (Romania) 7:25.75
Kayla Pratt/Rebecca Scown (New Zealand)
3. Naydene Smith/Lee-Ann Persse (South Africa) 7:27.58
4. Taylor Goetzinger/Meghan Musnicki (USA) 7:32.24
1. Laura Milani/Elisabetta Sancassani (Italy) 7:17.31
2. Kristin Hedstrom/Kathleeen Bertko (USA) 7:20.73
3. Lena Mueller/Anja Noske (Germany) 7:22.24
4 Kathryn Twyman/Imogen Walsh (GREAT BRITAIN) 7:24.64
5. Julia Edward/Lucy Strack (New Zealand) 7:27.33
6. Elisabeth Woerner/Maaike Head (Netherlands) 7:34.36
1. Kristoffer Brun/Are Strandli (Norway) 6:36.04
2. Simon Schuerch/Mario Gyr (Switzerland) 6;37.11
3. Richard & Peter Chambers (GREAT BRITAIN)
4. Andrea Micheletti/Pietro Ruta (Italy) 6:39.74
5. Konstantin Steinhuebel/Lars Hartig (Germany) 6;43.57
6. Pangiotis Magdanis/Spyridon Giannaros (Greece) 6:46.50
B FINALS – SATURDAY 31st August
1. Oliver Cook/James Foad (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:39.54
2. Shaun Keeling/Lawrence Brittain (South Africa) 6:41.08
3. Nenad Bedik/Nikola Stojic (Serbia) 6:42.93
4. Andre Sieber/Philipp Naruhn (Germany) 6:45.45
5. Joaquin Iwan/Rodrigo Murillo (Argentina) 6:46.07
6. Adrian Juhasz/Bela Simon Jr (Hungary) 6:51.50
FINALS – Friday 30th August
1. Michaela Taupe-Traer (Austria) 7:50.62
2. Aikaterini Nikolaidou (Greece) 7:53.23
3. Ruth Walczak (GREAT BRITAIN) 7:54.12
4. Fabiana Beltrame (Brazil) 7:56.74
5. Ursula Grobler (South Africa) 7:59.26
6. Alena Kryvasheyenka (Belarus) 8:06.57
1. Simon Niepmann/Lucas Tramer (Switzerland) 6:49.85
2. Ella Luini/Martino Goretti (Italy) 6:51.48
3. Sam Scrimgeour/Mark Aldred (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:52.08
4. Brendan Hodge/Eric Woelfl (Canada) 6:57.58
5. Jan-Philipp Birkner/Christopher Herpel (Germany) 6:59.80
6. Michael Hager/Markus Lemp (Austria) 7:07.09
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GB Rowing Team
World Championships, Chungju, Republic of Korea
August 25 – 1 September
Melanie Wilson (Imperial College BC/London/25.06.84)/
Caragh McMurtry (Reading Univ BC/Southampton/22.08.91)/
Louisa Reeve (Leander Club/London/16.05.84)/
Beth Rodford (Gloucester RC/Gloucester/28.12.82)/
Jessica Eddie (London RC/Durham/07.10.84)/
Zoe Lee (Sport Imperial BC/Richmond, N. Yorks/15.12.85)/
Katie Greves (Leander Club/Oxford/02.09.82)/
Olivia Carnegie-Brown (Oxford Brookes Univ BC/Oxford/28.13.91)/
Zoe de Toledo (cox) (Leander Club / London / 17/07/87)
Coach: Paul Thompson / Robin Williams
Rosamund Bradbury (Leander Club/Banstead/17.12.88)/
Kristina Stiller (Tees RC/Yarm/23.06.87)
Monica Relph (Leander Club/Cambridge/15.01.88)/
Lucinda Gooderham (Sport Imperial BC/Bury St Edmunds/09.06.84)/
Coach: Nick Strange
Alan Sinclair (Leander Club/Inverness/16.10.85)/
Nathaniel Reilly-O’Donnell (Univ of London BC/Durham/13.04.88)/
Scott Durant (Oxford Brookes Univ BC/Lancaster/12.02.88)/
Matthew Tarrant (Oxford Brookes Univ BC/Shepperton/11.07.90)
Coach: Christian Felkel
Dan Ritchie (Leander Club/Herne Bay/16.01.87)/
Tom Ransley (Leander Club/Cambridge/16.09.85)/
Alex Gregory (Leander Club/Wormington/11.03.84)/
Pete Reed (Leander Club/Nailsworth/27.07.81)/
Mohamed Sbihi (Molesey BC/Surbiton/27.03.88)/
Andrew Triggs Hodge (Molesey BC/Hebden/03.03.79)/
George Nash (Molesey BC/Guildford/02.10.89)/
Will Satch (Leander Club/Henley-on-Thames/09.06.89)/
Phelan Hill (cox) (Leander Club/Bedford/21.07.79)
Coach: Jürgen Grobler
Alan Campbell (Tideway Scullers School/Coleraine/09.05.83)
Coach: John West
Matt Langridge (Leander Club/Northwich/20.05.83)/
Bill Lucas (London RC/Kingswear/13.09.87)
Coach: Mark Banks
Graeme Thomas (Agecroft RC/Preston/08.11.88)/
Sam Townsend (Reading Univ BC/Reading/26.11.85)/
Charles Cousins (Leander Club/Willingham/13.12.88)/
Peter Lambert (Leander Club/Henley-on-Thames/03.12.86)
Coach: Paul Stannard
Men’s Sweep spares
Men’s Sculling Spare
Jonathan Walton (Leander Club/Leicester/06.10.90)
Adam Freeman-Pask (Reading Univ BC/Windsor/19.06.85)/
William Fletcher (Leander Club/Chester-le-Street/24.12.89)/
Jonathan Clegg (Leander Club/Maidenhead/14.07.89)/
Chris Bartley (Leander Club/Chester/02.02.84)
Coach: Rob Morgan
Arms-Shoulders Single Scull
Legs-Trunk-Arms Coxed Four
Pamela Relph (Leander Club/Aylesbury/14.11.89)
Naomi Riches (Marlow RC/Harrow/15.06.83)
Oliver Hester (Henley RC/Henley-on-Thames/18.02.90)
James Fox (Univ of London/Peterborough/02.05.92)
Oliver James (cox) (Leander Club/Henley-on-Thames/05.10.90)
Coach: Mary McLachlan
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