Great Britain second on medal table at 2023 World Rowing Under 23 Championships

The GB Rowing Team won a total of five medals – three gold and two silver – at the 2023 World Rowing Under 23 Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria from 19-23 July, finishing second on the medal table, behind Italy


Photo: Benedict Tufnell for British Rowing

From an Olympic boat class perspective GB finished top of the Olympic boat class medal table ahead of Poland and Germany.

Peter Sheppard, GB Rowing Team Head Coach for the Olympic Pathway said: “This was a very good team result for GB, given the team’s lack of experience before we travelled, with 36 new U23 vests from the 46 athletes and the short preparation time. The overall team result was three gold, two silver, and three frustratingly close fourth places, plus two seventh places and an eighth place from the 11 boats that competed. The team on the whole was a young team with 29 of the 46 athletes eligible again next season, so hopefully the foundations have been set for the next couple of years of future U23 success that can lead to future Olympic success in 2028 and 2032. The experiences learnt will I am sure stand all in good stead for the future for further medal success and those that narrowly missed out this time will come back stronger, fitter and rowing better to make a step forward next season.

“The teamwork amongst the coaches and support staff was exceptional to support the athletes through the extreme heat racing conditions with pre-race and post-race (recovery) cooling strategies to allow them to perform every day. Thank you to the athletes, their clubs, the coaches and the support staff for helping deliver a great set of results.”

Men's pair with arms in air after crossing the finish line first Photo: Benedict Tufnell for British Rowing

First to secure a gold medal on Saturday, in a perfectly executed, classy race, were the Men’s pair (M2-) of Harry Geffen and Miles Beeson, coached by Franz Imfeld. Miles has now won U23 gold in the men’s eight, men’s four and men’s pair while Harry added Men’s pair gold to his Men’s eight gold from 2022.

Another gold came from coach Brian Young’s Men’s four (M4-). The crew of James Forward, Theo Bell, Jake Wincomb, Iwan Hadfield took control of the race from the 1000m mark to win by open water.

It was three Men’s eight (M8+) golds in a row for coach Brendan Gliddon. The class of 2023 saw the crew of Toby Lassen, Felix Rawlinson, Gabriel Obholzer, Joe Willis, Andrew Mettrick, Fergus Woolnough, Luca Ferraro, Louis Nares and cox Tom Bryce row away from the field in the third 500m to win by nearly a length.

Two women with silver medals and sunflowers Photo: Benedict Tufnell for British Rowing

It was silver for Vwairé Obukohwo and Katherine George in the Women’s double sculls (W2x), a step up from the bronze they won in 2021. Also winning silver were the Men’s coxed four (M4+) of Caspar Griffin, Zac Day, Connor Brown, Oliver Parish, cox Zahir Ala. These second place finishes saw coaches Helen Brown (W2x) and Chris Tebb (M4+) secure their first U23 World Championship medals, a significant moment they should both savour in their coaching careers.

Finishing fourth in a very tight race, coached by Kieran Clark, were the Men’s quadruple sculls (M4x) of Keyan O’Donnell, Stephen Hughes, Marcus Chute and Balthasar Issa. This crew just got better and better throughout the regatta and despite just missing out on a medal they excelled. And with three of the crew eligible again next year, the challenge over the next 12 months will be to make the next step to being on the podium.

Also finishing fourth were the Women’s four (W4-) of Abigail Topp, Philippa Emery, Angharad Broughton and Lauren Carey, coached by Will Fletcher and the Women’s eight (W8+) of Anna Grace, Phoebe Snowden, Rhianna Sumpter, Imogen Cabot, Arianna Forde, Grace Richards, Evelyna Davies, Emma Dabinett, cox Jack Tottem and coach Ross Hunter.

Finishing seventh overall, winning their B finals, were Miles Devereux in the Men’s single sculls (M1x) and Isobel Sellers and Annabelle Ruinet in the lightweight Women’s double sculls (LW2x).

The Women’s quadruple sculls (W4x) of Hannah Supple, Ellie Cooke, Molly Curry and Rachel Bradley were second in the B final, placing eighth overall.

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