Great Britain prepares to take on the world in Linz

Watch the World Rowing Championships live on BBC One on Saturday, 31 August from 1.15 – 3.00 pm and BBC Two on Sunday, 1 September from 12.30 – 2.15 pm

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GB women's eight. Credit Nick Middleton

The 2019 World Rowing Championships will kick off in Linz-Ottensheim this Sunday as the GB Rowing Team set out to qualify as many boats as possible for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Great Britain’s eights have one of the toughest jobs on their hands as they each battle it out for one of five Olympic qualification spots. The men’s crew of Tom Ford, James Rudkin, Tom George, Mohamed Sbihi, Jacob Dawson, Ollie Wynne-Griffith, Mat Tarrant, Josh Bugajski and cox Henry Fieldman (coach: Jurgen Grobler) go into Linz as the top seed, having triumphed over Germany at World Rowing Cup III and ended the World Cup series as overall winners. The women’s eight of Fiona Gammond, Zoë Lee, Jo Wratten, Rowan McKellar, Hattie Taylor, Rebecca Shorten, Karen Bennett, Holly Norton and cox Matilda Horn (coach: James Harris) have also consistently finished within the top five this season, claiming European silver and World Cup II bronze.

The fours each need to secure a top eight finish to gain their Olympic and Paralympic qualification spots. The mixed coxed four of Ollie Stanhope, James Fox, Giedre Rakauskaite, Ellen Buttrick and cox Erin Wysocki-Jones (coach: Nick Baker), took two gold medals at Gavirate International Regatta earlier this season and go into the World Championships as the top seeded crew. The men’s four of Matt Rossiter, Ollie Cook, Rory Gibbs and Sholto Carnegie (coach: Christian Felkel), have claimed European gold and World Cup silver this season, while the women’s four, coached by Tom Pattichis, is newly formed and features World Cup III bronze medal-winning pair Polly Swann and Holly Hill alongside Emily Ford and Sara Parfett.

Some of the most heated racing of the Championships will come in the single sculls, where  Vicky Thornley (coach: Paul Reedy) and Tom Barras (coach: Paul Stannard) will each battle it out with around 40 other scullers for a potential nine qualification spots. Seven Paralympic qualification spots are available in the men’s PR1 single sculls, which will see Ben Pritchard (coach: Tom Baker) making his World Champs debut after winning a sensational bronze medal at his debut World Cup in Lucerne.

Paralympic champions Lauren Rowles and Laurence Whiteley (coach: Tom Dyson) will be racing together at a World Championships for the first time since 2015, where they claimed a silver medal and a Paralympic qualification spot. In the men’s double sculls, Graeme Thomas and John Collins (coach: Dan Moore) will be fighting for a top 11 finish and a spot on the podium after claiming silver and bronze at World Cups II and III. Having only made their senior GB debuts this season, women’s double sculls partnership Kyra Edwards and Ruth Siddorn (coach: Paul Reedy) will also be hungry to secure an Olympic qualification spot at their first World Championships after finishing 8th at World Cup III. Pairs Morgan Bolding and Tom Jeffrey and Sam Courty and Annie Withers will also be looking for top-11 finishes after finishing 6th and 8th respectively at World Cup III.

The lightweight events promise to be as closely contested as ever, with seven qualification spots available for the lightweight double sculls crews. Emily Craig and Imogen Grant (coach: Darren Whiter) will be racing together for the first time in Linz, while Zak Lee-Green and Jamie Copus (coach: Hamish Burrell) will team up for the first time since the 2018 World Championships. Sam Mottram (coach: Hamish Burrell) and Maddie Arlett (coach: Darren Whiter) will be aiming for podium finishes in the non-Olympic category of the lightweight single sculls.

Both of Great Britain’s quads have finished consistently within the top eight this season. The men’s crew of Jonny Walton, Angus Groom, Jack Beaumont and Pete Lambert (coach: Paul Stannard) took European bronze and 5th and 6th places at World Cup II and III, while the women’s quad of Jess Leyden, Melissa Wilson, Mathilda Hodgkins Byrne and Charlotte Hodgkins Byrne (coach: Jane Hall) improved on their 5th place finish at the European Championships with 4th at World Cup III.

You can follow the action live on BBC One on Saturday, 31 August from 1.15 – 3.00 pm and BBC Two on Sunday, 1 September from 12.30 – 2.15 pm, as well as on www.worldrowing.com and British Rowing social media channels in the build-up to finals weekend.

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