Sbihi and Thornley part of British Rowing's European Championship squad

Sbihi and Thornley part of British Rowing's European Championship squad

11 May 2017 / 16:59

Olympic champion Moe Sbihi is desperate to defend his coxless four title at the upcoming European Rowing Championships, but he knows the event will be a steep learning curve for the new squad.

After picking up 11 medals at the first World Cup regatta of the season in Belgrade at the weekend, British Rowing announced their squad for this month’s event in the Czech Republic.

Sbihi is joined by fellow Rio gold medallist Will Satch in the four, with Matthew Tarrant and Callum McBrierty making up the remainder of the boat.

The remainder of the squad is packed with other Rio Olympians, including Vicky Thornley, Katherine Copeland and Karen Bennett, as well as a host of new faces to begin the Tokyo Olympiad.

Sbihi won gold in the Belgrade World Cup on Sunday, with the same four that will race in Racice at the end of the month, but he admitted his first international race since Rio was a shock to the system.

“In the heat everyone just disappeared at the start and we were almost stationary, that was a bit of a rude awakening because that never happened in the two years I had been in the coxless four, that never happened once,” said the 29-year-old.

“The Europeans will still be a huge learning experience that we will need to use in the right way. But I would say that I am quite desperate to win and defend the title.

“We want to win. Tarrant isn’t a European champion, and Will is an Olympic champion and three-time World Champion, but never won a European Championship, and neither has Callum.

“So people are hungry to get that title next to their name, but with saying that, we have no idea what the rest of Europe will be like.

“We saw a brief little window into it in Belgrade. There will be loads more nations turning up in Racice, so the flip side is that I don’t want to say a win is the be all and end all.

“We want to come away having put together three good races, and hopefully we peak towards the final and we do well.”

Thornley, a silver medallist in the double scull at Rio 2016, has reverted to the single scull for the time being, having won the British trials.

The 29-year-old has not raced the individual scull for three years, but won silver last weekend in Belgrade, taking the scalp of Austria’s Magdalena Lobnig in the process.

She heads to Racice wanting to at least maintain her second place from Belgrade, but is aware of the bigger test to come at the European Championships, and in races to come this season.

“It’s nice to be back, it’s a new Olympiad and it feels all fresh and new, which is nice and refreshing for me,” she said.

“Being the new Olympiad and the first race of that, you have no idea of where you’re going to be.

“I was racing people I’ve raced before but we’ve all moved on in that time. I was just wondering how far I’d moved on since the last time I raced the single.

“It went really well. Jeannine Gmelin was out ahead and she was too fast for me to get, but it’s something to chip away at for the rest of the season.

“But to turn over Lobnig, who I’ve raced before in the single and not beaten, was really pleasing.

“I just really enjoyed the weekend. Being the first race of the season there is probably the least pressure on that regatta, and I really enjoyed that and being back on the water.”

Full British Rowing Squad for the European Championships (May 26-28):

Open women

Karen Bennett (Club: Leander Club/home town: Edinburgh)
Holly Norton (Leander Club/Johannesburg)
Coach: Paul Thompson/James Harris

Caragh McMurtry (Coalporters ARC/Southampton)
Rebecca Chin (Agecroft RC/Deganwy)
Annie Withers (Oxford Brookes Univ./Kingston)
Sara Parfett (Imperial College/Rochester)
Rebecca Shorten (Imperial College/Belfast)
Josephine Wratten (Leander Club/Middlesborough)
Fiona Gammond (Leander Club/Bicester)
Katherine Douglas (Leander Club/Edinburgh)
Cox: Erin Wysocki-Jones (Leander Club/Wantage)
Coach: James Harris/Jane Hall

Single scull
Victoria Thornley (Leander Club/Wrexham)
Coach: Paul Reedy

Double scull
Georgia Francis (Imperial College/Newbury)
Emily Carmichael (Leander Club/Cheltenham)
Coach: Paul Reedy

Quadruple scull
Mathilda Hodgkins-Byrne (Reading RC/Hereford)
Beth Bryan (Leander Club/Stockton-on-Tees)
Holly Nixon (Leander Club/Enniskillen)
Jessica Leyden (Leander Club/Todmordon)
Coaches: Paul Thompson/Paul Reedy

Women’s reserves
Alice Baatz (Agecroft RC/Winchester)
Rebecca Girling (Molesey/Bicester)
Anastasia Chitty (Leander Club/Oxford)

Lightweight women

Double Scull
Charlotte Booth (Putney Town/Bedford)
Katherine Copeland (Leander Club/Ingleby Barwick)
Coach: Darren Whiter

Open men

Jacob Dawson (Leander Club/Plymouth)
Matt Rossiter (Leander Club/Newbury)
Coaches: Rob Dauncey/Christian Felkel

Callum McBrierty (Leander Club/Edinburgh)
Matthew Tarrant (Oxford Brookes Univ./Shepperton)
Mohamed Sbihi (Molesey BC/Surbiton)
Will Satch (Leander Club/Henley-on-Thames)
Coach: Jurgen Grobler

Lance Tredell (Cambridge Univ./Altrincham)
Thomas Jeffery (Leander Club/Plymouth)
Sam Arnot (Leander Club/Chester)
Cameron Buchan (Leander Club/Dunipace)
Tom Ransley (Leander Club/Ashford, Kent)
Adam Neill (Leander Club/Peterborough)
James Rudkin (Newcastle Univ./Litchborough)
Tom Ford (Leander Club/Holmes Chapel)
Cox: Henry Fieldman (Molesey BC/London)
Coaches: Rob Dauncey/Christian Felkel

Double scull
Tom Barras (Leander Club/Staines)
Frazier Christie (Bath Univ./Bath)
Coach: Paul Stannard

Quadruple scull
Jack Beaumont (Leander Club/Maidenhead)
John Collins (Leander Club/Twickenham)
Peter Lambert (Leander Club/Maidenhead)
Jonny Walton (Leander Club/Leicester)
Coach: Paul Stannard

Men’s reserve
Tim Clarke (Leander Club/Henley-on-Thames)

Lightweight men

Double scull
Peter Chambers (Oxford Brookes Univ./Coleraine)
Will Fletcher (Leander Club/Chester-le-Street)
Coach: Hamish Burrell

Joel Cassells (Oxford Brookes Univ./Coleraine)
Sam Scrimgeour (Molesey BC/Kirriemuir)
Coaches: Rob Dauncey/Christian Felkel

Lightweight men’s reserve (non-travelling)
Zak Lee-Green (Agecroft RC/Cardiff)

Sportsbeat 2017

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