Ready and raring to go in Rio
The Rio Olympic Games opens tomorrow and rowing will be take place at one of the Games’ iconic venues
Alan Campbell will launch Great Britain’s Olympic rowing campaign this Saturday on Rio’s Estadio de Lagoa at 09.00 Brazilian time (13.00 BST) when he faces opposition from Belarus, Korea, Zimbabwe and Indonesia for a place in Tuesday’s quarter-finals of the open men’s single scull.
The 2012 bronze medal open men’s single sculler, from Coleraine and coached by John West, will lead off a British contingent of 12 boats and 47 rowers in action at these Games at a lake which Team GB Rowing Leader, Sir David Tanner, has described as “one of the iconic venues of the Games”.
Saturday morning’s race-card includes the men’s pair of Alan Sinclair, from Inverness, and Henley’s Stewart Innes, the European silver medal winners (14.40 BST). They have drawn the Dutch crew of Roel Braas and Mitchel Steenman, also multiple medal winners this season, in their opening heat. A top three finish from the six starters will see them into Tuesday’s semi-finals.
“The guys are excited about racing at their first Games and are fired up because of the support back home”, said their coach Rob Dauncey.
2012 Olympic women’s eight finalist Vicky Thornley, from Wrexham, and five-times Olympian and Glasgow’s defending Olympic champion Katherine Grainger, have a tough opener in the open women’s double scull in which they need a top three placing to progress.
They are drawn to race alongside Lithuania’s 2013 World Champions Donata Vistartaite and Milda Valciukaite in a heat also featuring 2015 World bronze medallists, Germany (15.00 BST).
“It’s a very tasty heat and the women are looking forward to testing themselves”, said coach Paul Thompson.
Leicester’s Jonny Walton and Twickenham’s John Collins will kick off their debut Olympics in a heat of the open men’s double scull, which features current World bronze medallists New Zealand and 2014 silver medallists, Italy (15.30 BST). A top three finish for the duo, coached by Mark Banks, will see them safely into Tuesday’s semi-finals.
Coleraine’s Peter Chambers and Chester’s Chris Bartley both took silver in the lightweight men’s four in London and return to this boat class in Rio where they race with Olympic first-timers Mark Aldred, from Birmingham and Maidenhead’s Jono Clegg.
In Saturday’s opening heat (16.10 BST) the quartet, who finished the world cup season on a strong note, with world cup bronze in Poland, have drawn 2014 World Champions and 2015 World silver medallists, Denmark. They also race the Germans whom they beat into fifth place in the final in Poland. Three crews go through to semi-finals.
‘It will be interesting to see how we run off against the Danes in the opening heat because they are one of the top crews in the world. It will put everyone’s minds at rest to see where we stand”, said coach Hamish Burrell.
Jack Beaumont from Maidenhead has flown out to join the GB men’s quadruple scull crew in the past few days because of illness to Graeme Thomas. Beaumont, Reading’s Sam Townsend, Glasgow’s Angus Groom, who learnt to row in Guildford, and Henley’s Peter Lambert will close out GB’s first day of racing.
“Australia and Poland are the seeded crews, so it will be a good test”, said coach Paul Stannard of their opening heat (16.40 BST) from which two crews progress to Wednesday’s final and the others to a repechage which provides those crews with a second chance on Monday.
Sunday’s start-list will see the men’s four, women’s pair and the two lightweight double scull crews in action in their respective opening heats.
Gloucestershire’s defending Olympic Champion Alex Gregory, Surbiton’s Moe Sbihi, George Nash, from Guildford, and Londoner Constantine Louloudis start unbeaten this season in the men’s four. They line up with South Africa, France and Greece in heat three (16.20 BST).
Three crews from each heat will progress to the men’s four semi-finals on Wednesday. Britain have been Olympic champions in this event at every Games since Sydney 2000.
“Overall the draws are good but there is no easy opposition at Olympic Games level. We are here to compete and to show how we can perform. We have prepared well and we are now looking forward to it”, said coach Jurgen Grobler who is coaching at his 11th Olympic Games.
Robin Williams, coach to the Olympic, World and European Champion duo, said: “The draw has turned out evenly balanced with the seeded crews missing each other but we have crews in our heats who can race, and race well, so we will be giving them the proper respect”. Three crews progress from this heat.
The duo missed the latter part of this season’s world cup racing because of injury but have come through well from two recent good training camps.
Only two crews progress to semi-finals from their heat (14.40 BST). Coach Paul Reedy said: “We are racing crews that are ranked quite highly so it will be a good first test and we are raring to go”.
Richard Chambers, the elder of the Chambers siblings and a London 2012 lightweight men’s four medallist, races this Games with Games debutant Will Fletcher from Chester-le-Street in the lightweight men’s double scull.
In a somewhat ironic twist the combination, coached by Darren Whiter, are drawn in their heat (15.50 BST) alongside John Thompson and John Smith who were half of South African lightweight four who so narrowly pipped GB to gold in London four years ago. The top two crews go on to the semi-finals with the remainder to the repechages.
Britain’s two eights open their Games on Monday with heats starting at 10.30 local time (14.30 in the UK).
The men have drawn Holland, Italy and New Zealand. Germany, the Olympic Champions, are in the other heat. Scott Durant (Lancaster), Tom Ransley (Ashford), Andrew T Hodge (Hebden), Matt Gotrel (Chipping Campden), Pete Reed (Nailsworth), Paul Bennett (Leeds), Matt Langridge (Northwich), Will Satch (Henley) and Londoner Phelan Hill feature in this line-up.
Christian Felkel, who coaches the eight with Jurgen Grobler, said: “It was expected that the Germans would be in the other heat because of the seedings. The Dutch, of course, won in Lucerne at the world cup so that will be interesting but we are not worried and we can’t wait to get going”.
The GB European Champion women’s eight are drawn with Canada and New Zealand.
James Harris, coach of the European Champion women’s eight with Paul Thompson, said: “The seeding meant that we would always face New Zealand in the heats. We’ve traded results with them this season and the Canadians, of course, are the World bronze medallists from last year so it’s going to be a good three-boat fight”. Only one crew can progress directly to the final, the other two will have a second chance via the repechage.
Katie Greves (Oxford), Melanie Wilson (London) Frances Houghton (Oxford), Polly Swann (Edinburgh), Jess Eddie (Durham), Olivia Carnegie-Brown (Reading), Karen Bennett (Edinburgh), Zoe Lee (Richmond) and cox Zoe de Toledo (London) will race at 10.40 Brazilian time (14.40 in the UK) with the men in action 20 minutes later.
Team GB crew list, Rio 2016 Olympic Games
6-13 August, 2016
(Crews listed from bow to stroke with cox and with club, hometown and date of birth)
Helen Glover (Minerva Bath RC/Penzance/17.06.86)
Heather Stanning (Army RC/Lossiemouth/26.01.85)
Coach: Robin Williams
Katie Greves (Leander Club/Oxford/02.09.82)
Melanie Wilson (Imperial College BC/London/25.06.84)
Frances Houghton (Univ of London Tyrian Club/Oxford/19.09.80)
Jess Eddie (London RC/Durham/07.10.84)
Olivia Carnegie-Brown (Oxford Brookes Univ BC/Henley-on-Thames/28.03.91)
Karen Bennett (Leander Club/Edinburgh/05.02.89)
Zoe Lee (Imperial College BC/Richmond/15.12.85)
Zoe De Toledo (Leander Club/London/17.07.87) (cox)
Coach: Paul Thompson/James Harris
Katherine Grainger (St Andrew BC/Glasgow/12.11.75)/
Coach: Paul Thompson
Vicki Meyer-Laker (Leander Club/Premnay/18.03.88)
Alan Sinclair (Leander Club/Inverness/16.10.85)
Coach: Rob Dauncey
Alex Gregory (Leander Club/Wormington/11.03.84)
Mohamed Sbihi (Molesey BC/Surbiton/27.03.88)
George Nash (Molesey BC/Guildford/02.10.89)
Constantine Louloudis (OUBC/London/15.09.91)
Coach: Jurgen Grobler
Matt Gotrel (Leander Club/Chipping Campden/01.03.89)
Scott Durant (Oxford Brookes Univ BC/Lancaster/12.02.88)
Matt Langridge (Leander Club/Northwich/20.05.83)
Paul Bennett (Univ of London BC/Leeds/16.12.88)
Alan Sinclair (Leander Club/Inverness/16.10.85)
Andrew T Hodge (Molesey BC/Hebden/03.03.79)
Tom Ransley (Leander Club/Ashford/06.09.85)
Will Satch (Leander Club/Henley-on-Thames/09.06.89)
Phelan Hill (cox) (Leander Club/Bedford/21.07.79)
Alan Campbell (Tideway Scullers School/Coleraine/09.05.83)
Coach: John West
Jonny Walton (Leander Club/Leicester/06.10.90)
John Collins (Leander Club/Twickenham/24.01.89)
Coach: Mark Banks
Peter Lambert (Leander Club/Maidenhead/03.12.86)
Angus Groom (Leander Club/Glasgow/16.06.92)
Sam Townsend (Reading Univ BC/Reading/26.11.85)
Nathaniel Reilly O’Donnell (Univ of London BC/Durham/13.04.88)
Charlotte Taylor (Putney Town RC/Bedford/14.08.85)
Kat Copeland (Tees RC/Ingleby Barwick/01.12.90)
Coach: Paul Reedy
Chris Bartley (Leander Club/Chester/02.02.84)
Mark Aldred (London RC/Birmingham/18.04.87)
Jono Clegg (Leander Club/Maidenhead/14.07.89)
Peter Chambers (Oxford Brookes Univ BC/Coleraine/14.03.90)
Coach: Hamish Burrell
Will Fletcher (Leander Club/Chester-le-Street/24.12.89)
Richard Chambers (Leander Club/Coleraine/10.06.85)
Coach: Darren Whiter
Sam Scrimgeour (Imperial College BC/Kirriemuir/28.01.88)
Caroline Searle is the rowing press officer on site at the Olympics in Rio, working as part of the Team GB set-up. She can be contacted in Brazil as follows:
T: +55 21 990330061
T: +55 21 966 316237
For picture requests please contact: GBRTpressoffice@gbrowingteam.org.uk
For background information about the The GB Rowing Team contact the Press office via email@example.com or 07831 755351
GB Rowing Team website, including full rower biogs: www.gbrowingteam.org.uk
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