World Championships medallists headline 2017 GB Rowing Team awards

World Rowing Championships medallists James Fox, Victoria Thornley and Moe Sbihi are named GB Rowing Team athletes of the year for the 2017 season

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Victoria Thornley, James Fox and Moe Sbihi (Naomi Baker)

World Rowing Championship medallists Moe Sbihi, Victoria Thornley and James Fox headline the list of winners of the GB Rowing Team awards for 2017, having found success on the water and provided outstanding leadership throughout the year.

Fox is awarded the British Paralympic Association Trophy, for his role in stroking the PR3 mixed coxed four to gold at the World Championships in Sarasota-Bradenton.

The Peterborough rower was one of two members of the Rio 2016 gold medal-winning crew to return to the boat in 2017, with Fox and Grace Clough integrating three new athletes to the crew and continuing the boat’s remarkable golden streak.

Thornley and Sbihi, who are awarded the British Olympic Association Trophy, medalled in almost every event they entered in 2017, including a silver and bronze respectively in Sarasota.

In the women’s single scull, Thornley had a year to remember, winning gold at the European Championships in Racice and picking up two silvers in the World Cup series as well as her Worlds silver.

Sbihi, meanwhile, was back in the men’s four – in which he won gold in Rio – and led them to two golds and a silver in the World Cups and then third place in Florida.

“To be recognised in this way is an honour – winning this award means a lot to me,” Thornley said. “I have been working hard for a number of years and it’s only really in the last two seasons that I have seen the benefits on the international stage. 2017 has been a very special year for me.

“Being competitive at the top of the single sculling field has always been a dream of mine. I look forward to what 2018 will bring after what will hopefully be a solid winter of training.”

Sbihi said: “It is an honour to be awarded Athlete of the Year for the 2017 season. I know the competition I am up against and that is a great reminder of how special this award is. It is great to have our hard work acknowledged and hopefully I can justify the award for the upcoming season.”

GB crews experienced significant success at U23 and Junior levels throughout the year as well, with the Mark Lees Foundation awards for the most promising development rowers of the year going to Lucy Glover and Sam Meijer, both gold medal-winning scullers at the World Rowing U23 Championships in Plovdiv.

Glover stroked the women’s quad to a remarkable gold, with the crew overcoming a late injury substitution to lead from start to finish, taking gold from Australia and Germany.

Meijer, meanwhile, partnered Sebastian Devereux in one of the most exciting races of the season. The GB men’s double scull sat fourth at halfway, but overcame a two-length deficit on the French crew in the final 500m to sprint to the gold medal.

And the Dan Topolski Award for outstanding development coach will be presented to Mark Wilkinson of Windsor Boys School, who has played a key role in the success of the GB Junior section in 2017. GB won four medals, including two golds, at the World Rowing Junior Championships in Trakai, with Wilkinson’s men’s quadruple sculls taking an excellent silver medal.

The GB Rowing Team will be competing on home soil in 2018 at the European Championships in Glasgow between 2-5 August. Buy your tickets now to cheer on our athletes at the Strathclyde Country Park.

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