World University Championships 2008

Silver medallists 

GB University rowers won three medals – a silver and two bronzes – at the 2008 FISU World University Championships in  Belgrade, on Sunday.

Earlier in the qualifying rounds, GB had qualified all eight boats  for the A Finals –  an excellent team performance. In those finals no boat finished lower than 5th in the world.

Durham University’s combination of Nick Fearnhead and Henry Chin missed gold by the narrowest of margins in the lightweight men’s double, just seven hundredths of a second.  They took the lead from Poland after 750 metres and extended this to just under a length with 500 metres to go, but were passed by the Poles in the last two strokes to win a very creditable silver medal.

GB’s bronzes came from the men’s four and lightweight women’s double.  The four of brothers George and Will Laughton (Newcastle Uni and Imperial College respectively), Pete Marsland and Tom Ransley (both Cambridge) took a strong bronze behind the Swiss and Romanian boats holding off an Italian charge to the line.

The  double  of Frances Fletcher (Durham Uni) and Andrea Dennis (Oxford Brookes) were just three seconds off gold in a race which saw a big margin between the three medal boats and the rest of the field.

Behind these medal boats, four boats finished in fourth place – the men’s eight, pair, and single and the women’s four, who were forced into a crew change through injury a week ago, – while the lightweight men’s four were fifth.

Pete Sheppard, BUCS Lead Coach for the Championships, said:  ‘Our medalists were impressive and congratulations to them.  This was a very strong team performance in depth and, while so many fourth places is a little frustrating,  to have had so many boats close to the medal zone is very pleasing.’