Men’s double scull wins GB’s second gold at World Rowing U23 Championships

Samuel Meijer and Sebastian Devereux win gold in the double scull, while the men’s eight take bronze at the World Rowing U23 Championships

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Samuel Meijer and Sebastian Devereux win gold in the men's double scull at the World Rowing U23 Championships in Plovdiv (Naomi Baker)

Great Britain’s men’s double scull took a fantastic gold medal on the final day of the World Rowing U23 Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, with a bronze for the men’s eight taking GB’s medal tally to five for the regatta.

Sebastian Devereux and Samuel Meijer sat fourth at the halfway mark, just one hundredth of a second behind Lithuania who had pushed France to the line in Friday’s semi-final. The French were out front and looking good for the win, but Devereux and Meijer put in a great sprint to overhaul Bastian Quiqueret and Maxime Ducret and win by a canvas.

“We knew with 500m to go that we had the afterburners to use,” said Meijer. “That won us the gold. It was the toughest race I’ve ever had.”

It has been a successful Championships for British scullers, with the women’s quadruple scull also taking gold on Saturday – helping GB to third in the medal table.

GB rounded off the Championships with a bronze medal in the men’s eight. The Brits traded places with Romania for second and third in the middle kilometre of the race before the Romanians put in a move to chase down eventual winners Netherlands and moved clear of GB to take silver.

The men’s quad finished fourth in their final – one place higher than the same crew achieved last year. New Zealand trailed the Brits in the opening stages of the race but timed their move perfectly to overhaul Russia and Italy in the final quarter to take gold. Andy Joel, Harry Glenister, Rowan Law and Harry Leask moved past early leaders Poland to take fourth place.

The women’s eight took sixth in a race won comfortably by Canada. The USA looked favourites to take gold, but a series of technical problems saw them slip to second, with Canada racing through for the win. GB, with Charlotte Hodgkins-Byrne in the bow seat – gold medal winner with the women’s quad on Saturday, held fourth through the halfway mark but slipped back through the field in the second kilometre.

William Stewart and Freddie Davidson also took sixth place in the men’s pair. Romania set a relentless early pace to shoot out to clear water within 250m and held their advantage to the line. Stewart and Davidson upped their rate in an attempt to get back into the race but couldn’t make headway on the three quick crews that took the final podium.

Josh Armstrong won the B final of the men’s single scull to finish seventh overall. The young Scot, in his first year at U23 level, sat third at the halfway mark and judged his race perfectly, pushing through as early leader Jan Helvig, of Denmark, faded, taking the lead by the 1,500m mark and winning by clear water.

The lightweight men’s double scull did not race their B final, with Matthew Curtis withdrawn on medical grounds.

British Rowing Performance Director, Sir David Tanner, said: “We’ve witnessed many excellent performances this week in Plovdiv, with the two gold medals for the British scullers particularly pleasing to see.

“The results here can make us confident of the strength of our development pathway ahead of Tokyo 2020 and future Olympic Games and highlights the excellent work done by the clubs and universities where our young rowers train on a day-to-day basis. The U23s have really set the benchmark for the Senior and Junior teams who will compete in their World Championships in the next two months.”

Results

A finals

Men’s pair (BM2-)
1. Romania 6:31.79
2. France 6:33.49
3. Serbia 6:34.10

6. Great Britain (William Stewart, Freddie Davidson) 6:45.75

Men’s double scull (BM2x)
1. Great Britain (Sebastian Devereux, Samuel Meijer) 6:18.14
2. France 6:19.06
3. Lithuania 6:21.57

Men’s quadruple scull (BM4x)
1. New Zealand 5:41.85
2. Russia 5:42.07
3. Italy 5:44.00
4. Great Britain (Andy Joel, Harry Glenister, Rowan Law, Harry Leask) 5:47.60

Women’s eight
1. Canada 6:09.89
2. USA 6:16.44
3. Russia 6:17.09

6. Great Britain (Charlotte Hodgkins-Byrne, Georgia Statham, Eleanor Stewart, Isobel Powell, Fiona Bell, Thea Zabell, Ally French, Heidi Long, Sasha Adwani (cox)) 6:29.00

Men’s eight
1. Netherlands 5:29.55
2. Romania 5:31.57
3. Great Britain (Matt Benstead, Alastair Douglass, Michael Glover, Matt Aldridge, David Bewicke-Copley, Morgan Bolding, David Ambler, Arthur Doyle, Ian Middleton (cox)) 5:32.64

B final

Men’s single scull
1. Great Britain (Josh Armstrong) 6:57.64
2. Greece 7:02.16
3. Denmark 7:03.84

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