Four medals for Great Britain on day seven of World Rowing Championships

Great Britain had two World Champions, four medals and three new boats qualified for the Olympics after a fantastic penultimate day of the World Rowing Championships

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The PR2 mixed double and PR3 mixed coxed four both became World Champions on another outstanding day for Great Britain’s Para-rowing squad.

Paralympic champions Lauren Rowles and Laurence Whiteley, coached by Tom Dyson, took their first World Championships gold in the PR2 mixed double sculls. The duo battled against 2018 World Champions Annika van der Meer and Corne de Koning of The Netherlands for the full race, taking the lead at the 1km mark and holding on to win by a length.

Rowles said: “We were saying yesterday that we thrive off being the underdogs! It was an incredible race today – every competitor loves that rush and last minute sprint, that’s what you do it for.”

After already breaking their own World Best time in the semi-final, the PR3 mixed coxed four of Ellen Buttrick, Giedre Rakauskaite, James Fox, Ollie Stanhope and cox Erin Wysocki-Jones, coached by Nick Baker, showed their dominance in the field as they won their A final by a massive 12 seconds to continue GB’s reign with the ninth consecutive win.

Wysocki-Jones said: “It has been an incredible Championships for the four – Paralympic qualification, a world best time and winning the gold medal today. We have all trained so hard this season with athletes coming back from injury and it feels fantastic to finish the Championships on such a high.

“There is always a lot of pressure going into a final, especially as there is such a history of success with the four but it’s such a privilege to uphold the streak of that last few years and continue the winning streak.”

The lightweight women’s double of Imogen Grant and Emily Craig, coached by Darren Whiter, showed their class and composure in their A final; after finding themselves in 5th place at the 1500m mark, they held on and drove through to take a magnificent bronze medal.

After the race, Craig said: “I’m a bit stunned. I’m too shocked to cry. For the last 250m we were throwing everything at it – when we crossed the line, I was like ‘I think we’ve got it?’ I was staring at the result board just thinking, ‘show me that GBR’.”

The men’s four of Matt Rossiter, Ollie Cook, Rory Gibbs and Sholto Carnegie, coached by Christian Felkel, stormed to a bronze medal in the 32-degree Linz sunshine. The result caps off a fantastic season for the crew, who have claimed European gold and World Cup silver during 2019.

Cook said: “We would have loved to have had the win today, but we’re really pleased to come away with a medal. It felt like gold was within our reach so it gives us a lot of motivation for next season.”

There was joy for the women’s sweep squad as both the women’s pair and four, coached by Tom Pattichis, sealed Olympic qualification in heated B finals.

The four of Sara Parfett, Emily Ford, Polly Swann and Holly Hill needed a top two finish in their B final to secure their qualification spot. After the Chinese crew got out to a clear water lead in the first kilometre, the British crew’s experience showed through. They held on to third place and made their move in the final 500m to row through both the Canadian and Chinese crews to take the win.

Speaking afterwards, Parfett said: “Today has been amazing. We were so pumped when we heard the pair had got it [Olympic qualification]. As a sweep team we’ve all been seat racing  each other to get in this boat – we’ve done so well and the whole team has been part of it – I’m so proud of us. I’m just so happy.”

In their B final Sam Courty and Annie Withers needed a top five spot to gain an Olympic qualification spot for the women’s pair. After sitting in 6th until the 1500m mark, the pair showed their grit as they powered over the line to take fourth place and seal Olympic qualification.

A delighted Courty said: “I feel a massive sense of relief, mixed with achievement mixed with happiness. We’ve had a real rollercoaster of a season and that’s how we wanted to end it. We did it!”

There was disappointment for Morgan Bolding and Tom Jeffrey in the men’s pair as they finished 6th in their B final, narrowly missing out on an automatic Olympic qualification spot. The women’s quad of Jess Leyden, Melissa Wilson, Mathilda Hodgkins Byrne and Charlotte Hodgkins Byrne finished sixth in their A final, as did Jamie Copus and Zak Lee-Green in a hotly contested C final.

Director of Performance Brendan Purcell said “We’ve seen some outstanding performances today across the whole team. The PR2 mixed double and PR3 mixed coxed four were brilliant and showed their standard and the strength of our Para-rowing squad, led by Tom Dyson and Nick Baker.

“Imogen and Emily in the lightweight double put in a fantastic performance; they and Maddie Arlett were a credit to their coach Darren Whiter and it’ll be exciting to see how they go next season. The men’s four, led by Christian Felkel have also been consistently strong this season and delivered another podium performance today.

“It’s fantastic to have eleven boats qualified for next year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games and we are now focusing on tomorrow on our remaining A finals.”

Tomorrow sees seven GB crews in action starting with Ruth Siddorn and Kyra Edwards in the C final for the women’s double sculls at 09:56 BST. You can watch Saturday’s action live on BBC Two from 12:30-2:15pm as well as watching all the races live on www.worldrowing.com.