Great Britain begin quest for Olympic and Paralympic qualification

The World Rowing Championships began with four GB crews taking to the Sava River in Belgrade, Serbia. With Olympic and Paralympic qualification on the line, athletes in Olympic and Paralympic events are focused on getting their boat on the trailer to Paris


Winning their heat in dominant style and progressing to the quarter final on Wednesday were the Men’s pair (M2-) of Ollie Wynne-Griffith and Tom George. “It’s a good start to the regatta” Ollie said, adding, “it was a tough heat and there are some top crews across the heats, with it being qualification year, we have to be at our best if we’re going to beat them. We’re happy that we did what we set out to do today and can move on into the regatta.”

Tom said: “We know where we’re at and we know what we want to achieve so each race will be a step on. It’s a qualification year, with the top 11 boats making it to Paris which means the quarter final is probably the most important race until the final in terms of just making sure we qualify. If you don’t buy your ticket there, you can’t win the lottery.” 

Olivia Bates finished third in the Lightweight women’s single sculls (LW1x) and will race repechage on Tuesday. Commenting on her first senior World Championship race, she said: “It was good to get up and running. It’s a nice day for it and the water is lovely and flat. I’m pleased to get a race under my belt and will be ready to go again on Tuesday.”

Warrington’s Lucy Glover was the first to take to the course, finishing 4th in the Women’s single sculls (W1x) heat. She will race again on Monday in the repechage. “I’m pretty disappointed,” she said after the race, adding, “it’s not what I set out to do because I know I can go quicker than that. Now I need to up my game, reassess the race plan and go from there tomorrow. I’m looking forward to having another run down the track.”

It was a fifth place finish for Aidan Thompson and John Collins in the Men’s double sculls (M2x), who will race repechage tomorrow. John commented, “It was a good piece but a little bit undercooked for where we need to be. Today it was difficult to know where to pitch in and I think having a rep next, while it’s not what you want to be doing, might be exactly what we need to find the right tempo and to execute our plan at that high gear. So, whilst it’s annoying, it’s potentially exactly what we need.” Aidan added: “Of course you don’t want to go to the reps but we’ve changed a lot about the way we row in the last few weeks and having another opportunity to go out and practice won’t hurt us at all.”

You can follow the World Rowing Championships live across British Rowing social media channels on our World Rowing Championships hub and World Rowing website. Finals will be shown on BBC2, BBC iPlayer and the BBC website. 

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