New-look pair and single to spearhead GB at first world cup
GB Rowing gave an insight into the racing season to come when they announced today that Olympic gold medalists Andrew Triggs Hodge and Pete Reed will be nominated to race in a men’s pair at the first world cup of the new Olympiad in Banyoles, Spain, from May 29-31.
Katherine Grainger, eight times winner of the GB Rowing senior trials and three-times an Olympic silver medallist, looks set to launch her 2009 season in a single scull.
For Hodge and Reed the pair is a departure from four years when the focus has been on a men’s four in which they were world champions twice and Olympic champions in Beijing.
"The last four years have been a great education. I learnt so much about racing. But we have a lot more to learn and I am looking forward to exploring the new arena of pairs
rowing with Pete. We have a great and proven pairs coach in Jurgen [Grobler]. It’s an exciting time and I’m focused on seeing how fast this pair can be", said Hodge.
For Grainger it means a departure from the women’s quadruple scull in which she won three world titles and two Olympic silvers.
"The single will be a huge challenge and I’ll really miss the camaraderie of the crew boats. But I’m excited about trying something different for now and testing myself in various ways", said Grainger.
"We have an interesting season ahead", said GB Performance Director David Tanner. "It will be one of rebuilding – one in which we will try new things, giving the chance for our best Olympians to find new challenges and for newcomers to make their mark at the start of the new Olympiad".
Olympic lightweight sculling gold medallist Zac Purchase, meanwhile, is working his way back in a single after a spring period which has been disrupted by illness. If he races in Banyoles it is likely to be in the single and a decision on his fitness will be made nearer the time.
Purchase’s potential role in the single for Banyoles means GB will field a new lightweight double scull featuring 2007 world lightweight men’s four champion, Paul Mattick, and 2008 Olympic reserve Rob Williams. With Mattick in the double there will be a new-look lightweight men’s four in due course. Stephen Feeney, Chris Bartley, Bob Hewitt and Chris Boddy will be in line for seats in this boat with Richard Chambers currently injured.
Interestingly, Hewitt and Boddy came into the sport through the Siemens-sponsored and lottery-backed World Class Start talent identification and development scheme.
Meanwhile, Chief men’s coach Jurgen Grobler will field a men’s four to include three Beijing Olympic silver medalists – Matthew Langridge, Richard Egington and Alex Partridge – and sculler turned sweep rower Alex Gregory who also came through World Class Start. The men’s eight is still a work in progress.
The open men’s squad also has strength in depth in the sculling department. Alan Campbell will race the single once more and Beijing bronze medalists Stephen Rowbotham and Matthew Wells are the nominated double scull.
GB Rowing is forming a men’s quadruple scull and 2008 world U23 champions Charles Cousins and Bill Lucas will be strong contenders for this boat.
Chief women’s and lightweight coach Paul Thompson has a reshaped but still strong sculling contingent. With Grainger competing in a single, Annabel Vernon and Anna Bebington will be nominated to renew their successful 2006 partnership in a double scull. Both were Beijing medalists.
A number of sweep rowers are likely to make the switch to sculling in the women’s squad in 2009. These include Beth Rodford, Katie Greves and Natasha Howard. Decisions on Banyoles’ crews will be taken in due course.
Beijing "find", the women’s pair of Olivia Whitlam and Louisa Reeve, who belied their late-call up to make the Olympic final and finish fifth overall will race once more in the women’s pair and could double up into a women’s eight with a mixture of rowers from the 5th placed Beijing boat alongside some newcomers.
The four top lightweight women scullers look set to race in a brace of doubles with the top two singles from the GB Rowing Senior Trials, Sophie Hosking and Hester Goodsell, making one of the combinations.
GB Rowing will make full selections for the Banyoles World Cup in mid May.
*SIEMENS is the high performance partner of the GB Rowing Team (as such they sponsor all the Olympic and Paralympic Class boats in the senior squad and add value to the ARA’s World Class Start and High Performance Programme in Clubs Schemes)
CREWS TO BE NOMINATED
(club/home town/d.o.b in brackets)
WORLD CUP, BANYOLES, SPAIN
full team selection to be made and announced fornally in mid may
Olivia Whitlam (Agecroft/Warrington/16.09.85
Louisa Reeve (Leander/Henley on Thames/16.05.84)
Katherine Grainger (St Andrew BC/Aberdeen/12.11.75)
Annabel Vernon (Marlow RC/Wadebridge/01.09.82)/
Anna Bebington (Leander Club/Leek, Staffs/13.2.83)
Peter Reed (Leander Club/Nailsworth, Glos/27.07.81)/
Andrew Triggs Hodge (Molesey BC/Hebden, N.Yorks/03.03.79)
Alan Campbell (Tideway Scullers/Coleraine/9.5.83)
Matthew Wells (Leander Club/Hexham, Northumberland/19.4.79)/
Stephen Rowbotham (Leander Club/Winscombe, Somerset/11.11.81)/
Hester Goodsell (Reading Uni/Cambridge/27.06.84)/
Sophie Hosking (London RC/Wimbledon/25.01.86)
Zac Purchase (Marlow RC/Tewkesbury, Glos/02.05.86)
(Provisional nomination subject to fitness assessment).
Rob Williams (London RC/Maidenhead/21.01.85)/
Paul Mattick (Leander/Oxford/25.04.78)