Prospect of competing on home water at European Championships excites Scots Sinclair and Bennett
Alan Sinclair and Karen Bennett are two of six Scots to be competing in their home country at this week’s European Championships
Alan Sinclair had just one senior international regatta under his belt the last time the GB Rowing Team competed on home water in 2013.
The year following the London Olympics the Scot made his debut at World Cup 1 in Sydney, with the second regatta of the series held on the Olympic course at Eton Dorney.
Being so new to the national team, Sinclair admits he didn’t appreciate the significance, and rarity, of competing in front of a home audience. Now, he gets to experience it again in his home country at the Glasgow 2018 European Championships.
“In 2013 we raced in Dorney and it was my second international race. I took it a little bit for granted how incredible it was and in hindsight it was a really phenomenal event,” he said.
“It was really well organised, with huge support; loads of schoolkids came and asked for autographs and it was really something special. I’m sure that Glasgow will be just as good, if not better.”
Sinclair is one of six Scottish athletes in the GB Rowing Team to compete in Glasgow this week, including fellow Rio 2016 Olympian Karen Bennett – rowing’s ambassador for the multi-sport European Championships.
With rowing joining aquatics, cycling, golf, gymnastics and triathlon in hosting its European Championships in Glasgow, Bennett says it’s a fantastic opportunity for athletes to experience a multi-sport event.
“We’ve had quite a change in the team since Rio, so most of the people haven’t experienced a multi-sport event, so it’ll be really good for them to see what it’s like,” she said.
“It’ll be good for us to see how other sports are doing and to support the British cycling team, gymnastics and all the other sports that are taking part.”
Since June 2013, all 26 senior international regattas have been hosted outside of the UK, meaning that all but a handful of the current squad have ever experienced a home crowd while representing GB.
Bennett says she’s looking forward to her friends finally being able to watch her race close up in the city that she learned to row in.
“A lot of my friends haven’t seen me race because we’re away quite a lot competing abroad, so it will be really nice that they can drive maybe half an hour to come and see what actually happens, and how it’s all done,” she said.
Sinclair also has fond memories of racing in Glasgow, but expects the competition to be slightly stronger this time, with GB taking on a strong European men’s eight field.
“The last time I competed at Strathclyde was in 2010 in the double sculls with Dave Bell and we won. I’m sure it’ll be a slightly different event to that to what that was!” he said.
“I’ve had a number of years of going there and being miles behind in junior events, so it’ll be nice to be racing there in one of the premier events in rowing and hopefully coming away with a gold medal.”
Racing starts at Strathclyde Country Park on Thursday, 2 August, with finals taking place on Saturday and Sunday. You can follow all the action on British Rowing’s social media channels, as well as on BBC TV and radio.