GB tops table at World University Rowing Champs

Great Britain topped the medal table with eight medals, including four golds, from nine crews competing at the 2014 World University Rowing Championships in a windswept Gravelines, France. Poland came second with six medals, also including four golds.

A total of 34 nations competed from all over the world with 13 making the medal podium. 

With all nine British crews making the A finals, spirits were high and the team did not have to wait long for their first win – Emily Craig from UL crossing the line clear of France in the women’s lightweight single sculls.

The gold rush continued in the men’s lightweight doubles when Zak Lee-Green joined forces with Hugh Gallie, both students at Manchester University. Lying last at half way they stormed through the field to win by just over a second.

“We did what we needed to do but it was a bit of a dash for the line,” exclaimed a delighted Lee-Green on disembarking.

Earlier this year, he broke into the senior team competing as GB’s racing spare in the singles at the Worlds in Amsterdam.

In contrast the girls’ four were led by the Czech Republic off the start but took command of the race within 500 metres. They gradually extended their lead to over a length by the finish. On board was Rebecca Chin, another newcomer to the senior team.

The fourth gold came in the last race of the Championships with the GB men’s eight dominating. They led from start to finish over the host nation with Canada third.

Britain’s silver came from Gemma Hall, one of six students from Newcastle University competing here, and Ellie Lewis from Manchester, in the women’s lightweight doubles.

“They took us on the start and we just could not quite get back at them,” they explained, referring to the Polish girls who took the title by just one second.

Three bronzes completed the medal tally with Jamie Copus, Oxford Brookes University, and Stuart Innes from Reading taking the lightweight and openweight single sculls respectively. In the lightweight men’s fours GB rowed through the Czech Republic on the line to take third by just one hundredth of a second. 

Finally, the men’s four just missed out on a podium place when Italy overtook them in the last five strokes.

Reports and results can be found at www.worldrowing.com/news/champions-crowned-the-world-university-championships.

By Maggie Phillips

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