Rio 2016 stars among award winners at GB Rowing Team dinner

Mohamed Sbihi, Katherine Grainger, Frances Houghton and Lauren Rowles are among the winners at the GB Rowing Team dinner

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Mohamed Sbihi, Katherine Grainger and Frances Houghton (photos: Peter Spurrier)

Rio 2016 stars Mohamed Sbihi, Frances Houghton, Lauren Rowles and Katherine Grainger were the big winners at the GB Rowing Team awards dinner on Friday night, where GB squads celebrated the huge success of the past 12 months.

Sbihi won men’s four gold in Brazil to add to the bronze the British Rowing Start graduate won at London 2012 in the men’s eight.

Houghton, who made her GB Junior debut back in 1995, took her third silver medal at a fifth Olympic Games racing this time in the women’s eight. Sbihi and Houghton were awarded the British Olympic Association Trophy as the Olympic athletes of the year.

Eighteen-year-old Rowles was named Paralympic athlete of the year and collected the British Paralympic Association Trophy, having won gold in the mixed double sculls with Laurence Whiteley, just over 18 months after switching from athletics.

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Great Britain topped the rowing medal tables in both the Olympic and Paralympic Games, taking three golds in each as well as two Olympic silvers and a Paralympic bronze.

GB’s most decorated Olympian, Katherine Grainger, was awarded the British Rowing Medal of Honour in recognition of her service to the sport over the past two decades. Grainger won her fourth silver at her fifth Olympic Games at Rio 2016, four years after winning gold in London.

The next generation of potential Olympians was also honoured at the dinner, with World U23 Championship gold medallist Mathilda Hodgkins-Byrne and silver medallist James Rudkin taking the Mark Lees Foundation awards for most promising U23 rowers. Colin Williamson, head of performance rowing at the University of Edinburgh, was named the outstanding development coach of the year.

British Rowing’s Performance Director, Sir David Tanner, said: “We’ve had some great junior and U23 results this year. They’re always important but they’re especially important this year, so it’s been really good to see so many stepping into the senior squad down at Caversham now.

“The seniors, well, we topped the medal table at the European Championships, topped the medal table at the World Championships, the Paralympics and the Olympics. I’m not a very boastful person, but I think that’s very good.

“The rowers are the most exceptional ambassadors, not only for the sport of rowing but for their country.”

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