‘I’d much rather have a bronze round my neck than be sitting on the pontoon crying my eyes out’
Moe Sbihi and Tom Ransley explain the emotions of winning a bronze medal in the men’s eight at the 2018 World Rowing Championships
Injuries and illness have challenged the squad since week one of the season, while in some instances the crew are ready to admit that performances haven’t lived up to the high expectations they put upon themselves.
But a gutsy row from an unfancied outside lane in the Worlds final in Plovdiv on Sunday has shown the quality contained within the boat and the potential to be unleashed in the crucial 2019 season.
“I’m happy we got on the right side of what could have been a really tough result,” Sbihi said.
“With the season we’ve had, with the ups and downs, injuries and illnesses, this shows we’re on the right path, so we’ll take positives from it.
“It’s not a nice feeling to get bronze as we always want to get gold, but I’d much rather have it round my neck than be sitting on the pontoon crying my eyes out.”
The crew started the international summer well, winning silver at the World Cups in Belgrade and Linz and getting a win over the dominant German crew at the latter, although in the repechage rather than the final.
Defeat at Henley Royal Regatta was followed by a fifth-place finish at the European Championships in Glasgow. But the progress made on the two pre-Worlds training camps in Austria and Portugal was evident in the dominant row shown in the repechage and then the final in Plovdiv.
Just edged for silver by Australia, GB finish the year as the third fastest crew and know the areas to build on ahead of the Olympic qualification year in 2019.
“We’ve got to seize the opportunity when you get it, so it’s nice to come away with a medal even though we’re wanting to go further and get on the top of the podium in Tokyo and before that if possible,” said Ransley, a member of the crew that won gold at the Olympics in Rio in 2016.
“It has always been a dynamic sport and I’ve been in it long enough now to see nations come in and out of the medals. It’s happening across the different events, which is really nice to see and it’s good for the sport to have that competitive element.
“We’ve got to get next year right and it’s one of the steps along the way to getting Tokyo right, so we’re certainly not going to underestimate it.”