Tom Aggar laid some of his 2012 Paralympic Games demons to rest this morning when he took gold in the men’s single scull at the World Cup at Eton Dorney.
The previously unbeaten Londoner was devastated not to win a medal on home water last August.
Today he paced his race to come onto the leader’s shoulders 400m into the race and then pulled on through to win in 5:18.70
“Maybe last year I underperformed compared to what I’ve done previously”, he said. “I think I’ve improved on last year and it’s a step in the right direction. It’s really special to win at Eton Dorney with the home crowd and this result makes up for last year in a small way”.
Aggar’s training partner and domestic rival Andrew Houghton took bronze in the same race, contested in gusty conditions.
GB Rowing Team added a second para-rowing gold when the mixed coxed four of Pam Relph, Naomi Riches, James Fox and Oliver Hester, coxed by Olivier James, powered down the course ahead of the Ukraine to win in 3:39.70.
Relph and Riches are returning 2012 Paralympic gold medallists whilst Hester and Fox plus the cox having stepped up into the seats held last year by David Smith, James Roe and Lily van den Broecke respectively.
The Chambers brothers, Peter and Richard, as the new-look GB Rowing Team lightweight double scull, are safely through to tomorrow’s finals, taking second place behind a seasoned Norwegian crew.
Richard Chambers said: “It was more of a mental challenge than a physical challenge today.
“We felt strong but it was more of a battle against the conditions than it was against the rest of the field. It was a bit weird because we’ve never trained as a double in these conditions but hopefully, sitting down with the coaches, it will be something we can learn from.
“The change of lanes had a massive influence. I think the FISA [World Rowing Federation] fairness committee got it right today. They did the right thing and I respect them for making a bold decision”.
Vicky Thornley also battled the elements to squeeze into the women’s single scull final in third place, paying for her early exuberance with a tough few final strokes to hold off her team-mate Melanie Wilson for the final qualifying slot.
2012 bronze medallist Alan Campbell paced his race behind Olympic silver medallist and European Champion Ondrej Synek to qualify for tomorrow. Jonny Walton missed out in fourth and will contest a B final. Britain’s two male lightweight single scullers will also race B finals.
The World Cup finals will be televised live on BBC 2 from 11.30 – 13.30 tomorrow.
Tomorrow’s Olympic class finals begin with the women’s pair in which reigning Olympic champion Helen Glover races with Polly Swann with a GB boat featuring in all 13 finals in this category plus finalists in the lightweight women’s single and men’s pair.
Tom Aggar got day two off to an ideal start by claiming Britain’s first gold medal of the World Cup regatta.
He and Russia’s Aleksey Chuvashev started quickly in the final of the arms-shoulders single scull, with the Russian taking an early lead by three quarters of a length.
Aggar, though, fought back after 300 metres to claim a narrow lead at the halfway stage before raising his stroke rate to in the second half of the race to ensure that the gold medal was secured.
After the disappointment of missing out on a medal at the Paralympic Games last year, Aggar said today’s result was “a step in the right direction”.
There was also an excellent bronze medal for Andrew Houghton after he saw off the challenge from Russia’s Vadim Morosov.
“It has been a bit up and down for me this season”, said Houghton. “I got a good result at Varese and then couldn’t stay on for the training camp but I have been getting out at Caversham and doing some decent training. I’m happy with the season but it can always go a bit better.”
The second British gold medal of the day came shortly afterwards in the Legs-trunk-arms mixed coxed four final as Pamela Relph, Naomi Riches, James Fox, Oliver Hester and cox Olivier James flew out the blocks to take a commanding lead over Ukraine early on.
With clear water quickly established between the two boats, the British crew continued to press home their advantage to win by the considerable margin of 27 seconds.
For Relph, the victory adds to the Paralympic gold medal won on the same waters last year, and she was pleased with how the final developed considering the challenging weather conditions.
“We got away from them quite quickly and then just held off,” she said. “It wasn’t our best row by any means, there is still a lot to work on but I think to deal with those conditions with the new crew that we have was encouraging.
“It has been a special feeling to be coming to Dorney this week, reliving the feelings we had from last year, and competing in front of a home crowd.”
In the lightweight men’s single scull, Jamie Kirkwood and Chris Boddy found themselves drawn in the same semifinal and the pair both started well before tailing off the pace during the middle part of the race.
Kirkwood looked to challenge for a place in the top three over the last 500m and earn a spot in the A Final but he couldn’t overhaul New Zealand’s Duncan Grant, finishing fourth.
Boddy, meanwhile, came through in fifth and will join Kirkwood in tomorrow’s B-final.
The Chambers brothers – Richard and Peter – settled into a good rhythm and went on to finish second in their lightweight men’s double scull semifinal.
The pair held onto their position throughout the race, finishing just under four seconds behind Norway.
Olympic bronze medallist Alan Campbell put in a well-paced performance to secure his place in tomorrow’s A-final of the men’s single scull.
The Northern Irishman settled into third position behind the Czech Republic’s Ondrej Synek and Norway’s Kjetil Borch for the early stages of the race, before moving past the Norwegian into second position late on.
Jonathan Walton competed in the same semifinal as Campbell and finished fourth, meaning he will contest the B-final on Sunday.
It was a tight encounter in the women’s single scull semifinal that featured both British crews, with four boats vying for the three A-final qualification spots at the front of the race.
Speaking afterwards, Thornley was happy to make it through to the final for the first time in the single.
“It wasn’t easy out there today, the conditions were tough,” she said.
“I had to keep steering off the buoys a little bit. It was challenging and my arms hurt and my legs.
“It would be incredible to medal tomorrow but the aim for this regatta was to get into the A-final.”
The British men’s pair of Karl Hudspith and Paul Bennett recorded a fine win in their B-final.
The duo were involved in a tussle for position in the opening half of the race before settling into third at the halfway point.
They then moved through the field in the third-quarter of the race before holding off a late surge from China in the final dash to the finish line.
(Events featuring GB Rowing Team crews only. Full results: www.worldrowing.com)
1. Tom Aggar (GREAT BRITAIN 1) 5:18:70
2. Aleksey Chuvashev (Russia 1) 5:25:37
3. Andrew Houghton (GREAT BRITAIN 2) 5:34:67
4. Vadim Morozov (Russia 2) 5:41:31
5. Tonis Vihmand (Estonia) 6:24:13
6. Szabolcs Nemeth (Hungary 1) 6:43:63
Semi Final 1 (1-3 to Final A, remainder to final B)
1. Eleanor Logan (USA) 8:02:27
2. Emma Twigg (New Zealand) 8:06:40
3. Victoria Thornley (GREAT BRITAIN 1) 8:09:19
4. Melanie Wilson (GREAT BRITAIN 2) 8:11:34
5. Kaisa Pajusalu (Estonia) 8:28:75
6. Yunxia Chen (China) 8:30:28
Single scull (1-3 to Final A, remainder to Final B)
Semi Final 1
1. Ondrej Synek (Czech Republic) 7:03:16
2. Alan Campbell (GREAT BRITAIN 1) 7:05:49
3. Kjetil Borch (Norway) 7:06:98
4. Jonathan Walton (GREAT BRITAIN 2) 7:25:91
5. Dani Fridman (Israel 1) 7:30:10
6. Joseph Sullivan (New Zealand 2) 7:35:46
Semi Final 2
Single scull (1-3 to Final A, Remainder to Final B)
1. Steffen Jensen (Denmark 1) 7:17:55
2. Konstantin Steinhuebel (Germany 2) 7:18:83
3. Duncan Grant (New Zealand) 7:19:59
4. Jamie Kirkwood (GREAT BRITAIN 1) 7:20:80
5. Chris Boddy (GREAT BRITAIN 2) 7:34:91
6. Nuno Mendes (Portugal 2) 7:52:39
Double scull (1-3 to Final A, remainder to Final B)
Semi Final 1
1. Kristoffer Brun/Are Strandli (Norway) 6:38:78
2. Richard Chambers/Peter Chambers (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:42:57
3. Jonathan Koch/Lars Hartig (Germany) 6:45:58
4. Dnaiel Matyasovszki/Peter Galambos (Hungary) 6:53:78
5. Chiu Mang Tang/Hoi Kwan Lok (Hong Kong 1) 7:03:14
6. Roque Zimmerman/Ronald De Sousa Brito (Brazil) 7:04:36
1. Karl Hudspith / Paul Bennett (GREAT BRITAIN 1) 6:53.54
2. Lin Wu / Xiaolong Zheng (China 1) 6:54.11
3. Rodrigo Murillo / Joaquin Iwan (Argentina) 7:00.17
4. Arnaud Petitjean / Valentin Onfroy (France) 7:03.40
5. Xiaoyun Zheng / Panpan Zheng (China 2) 7:03.96
GB ROWING TEAM
Samsung World Rowing Cup, Eton Dorney, 21-23 June, 2013
Pair – three boats
Single scull – two boats
Victoria Thornley (Leander Club/Wrexham/30.11.87)
Coach: Jane Hall/Paul Reedy
Melanie Wilson (Imperial College BC/London/25.06.84)
Coach: Paul Reedy
Quadruple scull – two boats
Caragh McMurtry (Reading Univ BC/Southampton/22.08.91)/
Monica Relph (Leander Club/Cambridge/15.01.88)/
Rosamund Bradbury (Leander Club/Banstead/17.12.88)/
Kristina Stiller (Tees RC/Yarm/23.06.87)
Coach: Nick Strange
Katherine Douglas (Leander Club/Midlothian/03.08.89)/
Zoe Lee (Sport Imperial BC/Richmond, N. Yorks/15.12.85)/
Sarah Cowburn (Leander Club/Redditch/01.02.89)/
Beth Rodford (Gloucester RC/Gloucester/28.12.82)
Pair – two boats
Karl Hudspith (Oxford Uni BC/Twickenham/31.03.88)/
Paul Bennett (Univ of London BC/Leeds/16.12.88)
Coach: Sean Bowden
Ertan Hazine (Univ of London BC/Maidenhead/01.08.91)
James Cook (Univ of London BC/Windsor/02.07.92)/
Coach: Brian Young
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
Eight – two boats
Oliver Cook (Univ of London BC/Windsor/05.06.90)/
Dan Ritchie (Leander Club/Herne Bay/16.01.87)/
Tom Ransley (Leander Club/Cambridge/16.09.85)/
James Foad (Molesey BC/Southampton/20.03.87)/
Mohamed Sbihi (Molesey BC/Surbiton/27.03.88)/
Will Satch (Leander Club/Henley-on-Thames/09.06.89)/
Pete Reed (Leander Club/Nailsworth/27.07.81)/
Andrew Triggs Hodge (Molesey BC/Hebden/03.03.79)/
Phelan Hill (cox) (Leander Club/Bedford/21.07.79)
Coach: Jurgen Grobler
Nick Middleton (Leander Club/Henley-on-Thames/12.08.88)/
James Edwards (Leander Club/Henley-on-Thames/26.09.91)/
Colin Williamson (Molesey BC/Perth/03.04.83)/
Philip Congdon (Molesey BC/East Molesey/06.06.89)/
Matthew Gotrel (Leander Club/Chipping Campden/01.03.89)/
John Collins (Leander Club/Twickenham/24.01.89)/
Mason Durant (Oxford Brookes Univ BC/Lancaster/12.02.88)/
Lance Tredell (Leander Club/Hale/25.10.88)/
Henry Fieldman (cox) (Cambridge Univ BC/Barnes/25.11.88)
Coach: Rob Dauncey
Single scull – two boats
Alan Campbell (Tideway Scullers School/Coleraine/09.05.83)
Coach: John West
Jonathan Walton (Leander Club/Leicester/06.10.90)
Coach: Paul Stannard
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
Ruth Walczak (Molesey BC/Rochdale/15.09.88)
Coach: Paul Reedy
Double scull – two boats
Pair – two boats
Matthew Bedford (Univ of London BC/Maidenhead/21.01.91)/
Wilf Kimberley (Imperial College BC/London/15.07.92)
Coach: Brian Young
William Fletcher (Leander Club/Chester-le-Street/24.12.89)/
Adam Freeman-Pask (Reading Univ BC/Windsor/19.06.85)/
Jonathan Clegg (Leander Club/Maidenhead/14.07.89)/
Chris Bartley (Leander Club/Chester/02.02.84)
Coach: Rob Morgan
Single scull – two boats
Chris Boddy (Leander Club/Thornaby-on-Tees/16.11.87)
Coach: Darren Whiter
Arms-shoulders single scull – two boats
Andrew Houghton (Maidenhead RC/Newbury/06.04.81)
Coach: Tom Dyson
Legs-trunk-arms mixed coxed four
Pamela Relph (Leander Club/Aylesbury/14.11.89)/
Naomi Riches (Marlow RC/Harrow/15.06.83)/
James Fox (Univ of London BC/Peterborough/02.05.92)/
Oliver Hester (Henley RC/Henley-on-Thames/18.02.90)/
Oliver James (cox) (Leander Club/Henley-on-Thames/05.10.90)
Coach: Mary McLachlan
For full biogs visit: www.gbrowingteam.org.uk
For club, home towns & dates of birth – see entry list below
Tickets for Eton Dorney: www.wrcupetondorney2013.com
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Miranda Edwards or Caroline Searle: firstname.lastname@example.org or 01225 384 211 – PLEASE NOTE NEW NUMBER or 07831 755351
GB Rowing Team website, including full rower biogs: www.gbrowingteam.org.uk
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