19 Tokyo Olympians return as Britain unwrap new rowing combinations in Belgrade

British Rowing start the road to Paris 2024 with an injection of young talent and new combinations for World Cup I in Belgrade.

19 Tokyo Olympians are going again, including two of the four men's quad sculls silver medallists and six members of the bronze-medal winning men's eight.

Seven of the women's squad who competed at the Games will race for the first time since last summer in Serbia on 27-29 May.

"It's been some time since we had the men's, women’s and para crews racing together at an international regatta and I know how excited the full team are to be getting back to competing out on the water," said British Rowing Director of Performance Louise Kingsley.

"Despite the limited racing over the past eight months, we've been very busy behind the scenes, bringing in a new structure and new coaching team to help get us in the best possible shape to challenge for medals going forward and to help us evolve us into a contemporary and world-leading programme.

"World Cup 1 is the first step on our journey to Paris 2024 and will set a good marker for the start of the 2022 season."

With Helen Glover, Polly Swann and Karen Bennett absent, the Trials-winning pair of Rebecca Shorten and Rowan McKellar are the pillars of the women’s sweep squad.

They are combined in the four with Samantha Redgrave and Heidi Long, who became the first woman to win the four and the eight at Henley last year.

Hannah Scott, part of the quad in Tokyo, opening her season in the single.

GBRT Women's Olympic Head Coach Andrew Randell says: "The big aim for us this season is to make the podium and we've done some good training despite a few covid setbacks.

"Doubling up the scullers allows them to get more quality race practice as we look to the World Championships later this year.

"I've had a really solid few months working with the team and been impressed with how the athletes have got used to my way of working, their willingness to try something new and their commitment to training."

On the men's side, Seb Devereux and Sam Meijer will be out to maintain medal standard as they join the successful quad with Tom Barras and Harry Leask remaining.

Jacob Dawson and Moe Sbihi are the only two members of the eight not to return here.

The top two pairs at Trials stay intact in the shape of Matt Aldridge and Josh Bugajski and Ollie Wynne-Griffith and Tom George.

Now coxed by Harry Brightmore, the eight benefits from the addition of Tom Digby in the six seat who is the fastest oarsman of all time at Yale University over 2000m.

The Tokyo men’s four is scattered around with Ollie Cook taking a year out, Sholto Carnegie and Rory Gibbs stepping in to the eight and Matt Rossiter in a pair with Harry Glenister.

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